Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Siborne's Waterloo diorama

If you read the June 2015 issue of Miniature Wargames there is an interesting article on the Waterloo diorama created by Captain William Siborne at the Royal Armories in Leeds.

This article and some of the photos in it took me back over 40 years and reminded me of the generosity of a lady who lived in the same village as I did.

I lived in a north Dorset village called Pimperne and there was to be a village event one day called 'Pimperne can do it'. Friends of my mother convinced me to take part and give a demonstration of making jewellery - something that had become a lucrative sideline and addition to my pocket money allowance. I dutifully did as I was told - despite being 16 years old.

My display showed the various stages of polishing stones and making mounts and I was quite pleased with how it looked between the cake-makers, button-makers, wood carvers and any number of people who were demonstrating their hobbies. I was caught out when a local man who knew of my military modelling interests asked where my models were? I ended up running home and bringing some back,

The models generated more interest than the jewellery and I ended up on the front page of the local paper holding a model Polish Lancer in 54mm from Airfix. However, a lady who had recently retired to the village with her husband asked me lots of questions about my hobbies and the next day arrived at my parent's home with a box.

The box contained her father's mineral collection - he had been a geologist and worked around the world. It was a great addition to my own collection as I once had aspirations of being a geologist myself. However there was a smaller box too.

The smaller box contained four lovely looking French Napoleonic figures about 25mm scale - 1" from sole of foot to top of the head and they are based on thin brass sheet.

The four figures that I have had for over 40 years were old when I got them

The lady, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, told me that she had inherited the figures from her grandfather and all she knew was that they had come from a large diorama of Waterloo that was displayed at an exhibition. Could these figures have come from Siborne's display? Maybe we will never know but the similarity is certainly there.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting - it would certainly be fascinating to know if they really are by Siborne. Is it worth contacting NAM or Royal Armouries to see if they can offer an informed opinion?