Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fontenoy Gallery by Jacques Onfray de Breville

Today is the anniversary of the 1745 Battle of Fontenoy, fought between the French Army and the Pragmatic Allies (comprising Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hanover, and the Holy Roman Empire).  At the battle of Fontenoy, Marshal Saxe directed the French army to victory.
 In the picture at left, Marshal Saxe rides in his wicker chariot because he was too ill to ride a horse.  The man at right is an uhlan of the Volontaires de Saxe.

Saxe's plan called for redoubts to strengthen the French position against the Allied attacks.  It also incorporated the elite Arquebusiers de Grassin to patrol the woods and harass the enemy columns as they attacked Saxe's redoubts.  They are doing this in the picture, warily looking out for trouble.  They performed their job admirably, delaying the advance of a column of British infantry.

But the Allies had penetrated Saxe's lines in a massive column that refused to be broken.  Saxe ordered the reserve Irish Brigade (made up of Irish exiles in French service) and Louis XV's bodyguard, known as the Maison du Roi, to give one final attack.  These elite troops hit the Allied column and gained the victory for France.  The Maison du Roi is charging in this picture.  Fontenoy is also remarkable because Louis XV and his son the Dauphin were encamped there during the battle.

All these pictures were created by the French artist Comte Jacques Onfray de Breville.  He signed his work with his initials "JOB."

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