One of today’s foremost painters of military images Keith Rocco has let us show the following five images of moments and people at Waterloo and Quatre Bras.
Two days before the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon defeated the Prussian army at Ligny while Marshal Ney confronted the Duke of Wellington’s Anglo-Allied army at Quatre Bras. One of the famous incidents at Quatre Bras occurred when the French 6th Lancer Regiment pierced the line of the 2nd Battalion of the British 44th Regiment of Foot. Although grievously wounded, the ensign holding the King’s Colors threw himself on the flag to prevent the standard from being seized. A French lancer cut off a portion of the flag but was soon killed as he tried to ride off with the prize. At the end of the day, Wellington still held the crossroads at Quatre Bras but he was unable to support his Prussian allies. The next morning he learned of the Prussian defeat at Ligny and began a retreat to Waterloo.
The fight for the walled farm complex of Hougoumont is almost as famous as the battle of Waterloo. The Duke of Wellington placed elements of his Foot Guards and 2nd Coldstream Guards in this strongpoint several hundred meters forward of the main Allied line. Rocco’s painting shows a crucial turning point in the battle when some soldiers of the French 1st Légère Régiment briefly broke into the courtyard of the chateau. Instead of panicking, men of the light company of the Coldstream Guards closed the gate behind the French and killed all of them except for a drummer boy, thus saving Hougoumont for Wellington. You can read more details about this painting and the fighting in the free PDF download of the article in issue #1 of Napoleon magazine.
A critical moment in the battle of Waterloo is depicted in this painting by Keith Rocco. The French massed cavalry charges were a huge feature of the fighting. Here the French 7th Cuirassier Regiment and Imperial Guard Red Lancers are shown after their attack against the British battalion squares. The French horses and men are tired and disorganized. The 1st King’s German Legion of Light Dragoons is counter-charging (in the background) along with the British 23rd Light Dragoons (in the foreground). The French cavalry charges failed to break the Allied line, but the clusters of infantry squares suffered greatly from French artillery fire.
This is lieutenant Pierre Alexander Noel of the Grenadiers à Cheval of the Imperial Guard, one of Keith Rocco’s seventeen paintings that will appear in the volume on the Guard cavalry units. The image of Noel is based upon a portrait located by Napoleon’s Last Army series author Paul Dawson and provided to Rocco.
These are soldiers of the 3e Régiment of Volitgeurs of the Imperial Guard, one of Rocco’s paintings that will appear in the Napoleon’s Last Army volume on Guard infantry and artillery units. Click here to see more illustrations, and sign up for the email updates on the series.
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All images this page Copyright 2015 Keith Rocco