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A SMART, GOOD-LOOKING SOLDIER FROM THE COPTIC LEGION OF GENERAL YA’QUB THE COPT, AS HE APPEARS IN A FRENCH PAINTING

July 15, 2012

 Figure 1: The painting by an unidentified French artist of a Coptic soldier from the Coptic Legion, together with a Greek and Mameluke soldiers.

Another interesting painting showing a Coptic soldier of the Coptic Legion standing in his full uniform and with his gun; and sitting next to him what I suspect to be a man from the Greek Legion; while a Mameluke who has joined the French standing by his horse.

Although the artist has signed his name on the left lower part of the painting, I cannot discern his name. This is an important picture. Readers who could cast more light into it are very welcome. The smart, good-looking Coptic soldier is dark in colour compared to the soldiers in Legion Cophte 1799, the postcard by the Dutch company Cacao Bensorp & Cie, which I posted earlier,[i] and so may be more realistic. The outfit here is similar to the uniform shown in Legion Cophte 1799.

Update (17 July 2012):

I have now found more information about this beautiful and important piece of art. The plate (planche) is from the great standard work on the foreign troops in France by Eugène Fieffé: Histoire des Troupes Étrangères au service de France depuis leur origine jusqu’à nos jours et de tous les régiments levés dans les pays conquis sous la Première République et le’Empire (History of Foreign Troops in the Service of France from their origin to the present day and all the regiments raised in the conquered countries in the First Republic and the Empire). It was published in 1854 in two volumes and included several plates illustrated by Jean Sorieul (1824-1871) and engraved by L. Deghouy (whose signature at the bottom right I can now identify). The second volume contains 21 plates (the interest here is relevant to the era 1789 to 1815; two of the plates are assigned to troops from the post-Napoleonic era). The plate above is from this second volume, and is given the markings TII, p. 48.

I further discover that the three persons depicted in the picture are from its right to its left: a soldier from the Coptic Legion (Légion Cophte), a soldier from the Greek Legion (LégionCrecque), and a Syrian (Syrien). This is, of course, a little different from what I have mentioned above. The reader should take notice of the correction.

All 20 plates of the second volume can be seen at this German site: http://www.napoleon-online.de/fieffe_fremdtruppen.html

 

 


[i] See Dioscorus Boles (15 July 2012): “LEGION COPHTE 1799” – A CACAO BENSDORP & Cie RARE POSTCARD DEPICTING THE SOLDIERS OF THE COPTIC LEGION DURING THE FRENCH EXPEDITION IN EGYPT,

http://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/legion-cophte-1799-a-cacao-bensdorp-cie-rare-postcard-depicting-the-soldiers-of-the-coptic-legion-during-the-french-expedition-in-egypt/

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