Sunday, June 29, 2014

Uhlan - Kurhannoversches Scheither-Corps Ulan circa 1760

quite interesting image surfaced on the Web - namely Wikipedia Commons - of an Uhlan (with a lance etc) that is described as a member of the Hanoverian army, a light cavalry unit known as Scheither-Corps (1758). Hanover fought on the side of Prussia and United Kingdom during the Seven Years War. However, the Seven Year War Project known as ''kronoskaf'' has a page devoted to the Scheither-Corps and there is no mention of any Uhlans.

He is dressed in a peculiar set of clothes, but his red 'czapka' with fur trim and feather (?) adornment, his red leather boots, red pants or ''szarawary'' are typical of the period for the Polish and Turkish cavalry, but the red dolman under his kaftan (by the way I think the artist had no concept of a ''kontusz'' or a kaftan with empty sleeves like the ancient Median kantuš) is more akin to the Bosniaken (Bosniaks),

light cavalry  with the Prussia,   armed with pikes/lances, sabre, perhaps pistols or carbine too.

In any event this uhlan reflects the fashion of Polish military of the first half of the XVIII century, although the dolman is a novum, for our Polish uhlans would wear a żupan under their kontusz or kurtka.  The similar uniforms were worn by the Polish Uhlans in Saxon service ( kronoskaf has two units reconstructed here and here), Gallica has an image of one Polish uhlan from 1736 (he appears to be wearing a kurtka), and there the uniform colours and lance pennon are generally the same (more on these early uhlans in the future) , so perhaps this horseman represents some rouge company that served with the Hanoverians, after having been taken prisoner or switched service under more profitable circumstances?

I like the way this artist represented the mount of this light cavalryman - a rather smaller, spirited war horse, and by the way a Luckner Hussar rides a similar horse, while perhaps it worth observing that quite similar mounts would appear in de Warnery's work on cavalry.

I should add that this uhlan is most likely  a towarzysz (following Polish miltiary tradition and enlistment), or a noble trooper thus armed with lance, as opposed to a pocztowy (retainer/trooper) that was armed with a carbine (cavalry musket) etc.

The officers of the 'Saxon'- Polish uhlan regiments wore a bow case hanging from their belts, perhaps a sing of their noble Tatar and equestrian tradition.

Finally, I played with this Uhlan a little bit, sketching with an ink pen (enjoying my manga Kuretake pen nibs & Hero manga fountain pen), and in the left corner included a sketch of the szarawary as they appeared in the period art, showing Polish cavalry etc. I did not give him a lance etc, as more sketches will come, I hope.


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