WATERLOO: THE DEFENCE OF HOUGOUMONT
WATERLOO: THE CHARGE OF THE FRENCH CAVALRY
Limited edition collotype prints 57/850 signed 'Wellington' published by the Wellington Collection, National Army Museum, London 1976, with certificate of authenticity on verso. Glazed, wood frames.
15 x 20" (38.1 x 50.8 cm) including letters Fame 19 x 25"
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These scarce and collectable art prints were published in 1976 and were personally signed in graphite by the 8th Duke of Wellington (Lower left) depicts the defence of the Chateau de Hougoumont by the flank Company, Coldstream Guards 1815, and the Charge of the French Cavalry after the original 1815 watercolours by Denis Dighton, (1792-1827) / National Army Museum, London / The Bridgeman Art Library.
Out of sight from the ridge of Wellington's front line, if Hougoumont had not been held the French could have come around by the valley and outflanked Wellington's position. Within the haunted courtyard, the violence of Sunday18th. June 1815 was played out with appalling bloodshed. About 100 French made their way into the courtyard before the British defenders of Scots and Coldstream guards could close the wooden gate. Under constant attack throughout the day, the French trained their artillery on the buildings setting fire to them, resulting in many wounded being burnt to death, but the farm was held; the pivotal position upon which the Duke claimed the whole battle depended.
French cavalry attack a British square, to the left of which a British field canon sits temporarily abandoned. The infantry stand in three ranks, the front kneel with the butts of their muskets on the ground bayonets fixed, while other ranks stand to shoot and reload. Against cavalry, such a square was almost impregnable, for a even war horses could not be induced to impale themselves on a line of steel. Nevertheless the French charged about ten times, until the ridge was so encumbered by dead and dying men and horses that they could not ride over it. The farm buildings of Hougoumont are seen burning in the middle ground.
Denis Dighton (1792 – 8 August 1827) was known for his military portraits and battle scenes. The son of the caricaturist Robert Dighton. He studied at the Royal Academy. At the age of seventeen he received a commission in the army, through the influence of the Prince of Wales , who had been a close friend of his mother. However, he soon returned to civilian life, and enrolled as a student of the Royal Academy in 1807. He subsequently exhibited 17 pictures there between 1811 and 1825. By 1814 he had received the title of Military Painter to H.R.H. the Prince Regent. The prince sent Dighton to Belgium just before the Battle of Waterloo, and seems to have bought all his exhibited pictures. He subsequently fell from royal favour when his intermediary with the Prince Regent, Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, lost his place in the royal household. After this loss of patronage, Dighton became mentally ill; he moved with his wife and son to Brittany, where he lived supported by the Artists' Fund until his death at the age of 35 on 8 August, 1827.
Denis Dighton is mostly known for his paintings of battle scenes especially depicting the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo; he also painted a scene of The Fall of Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
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