Saturday, March 9, 2013

Murat the Vain Peacock

Murat at Heilsberg - by Patrice Courcelle (click to enlarge)
Joachim Murat was perhaps the most famous cavalryman in Napoleon's army during the empire days. He was certainly brave, always willing to lead the charge from the front and mix it up with the enemy; and he was also vain and gaudy, as shown in some of his outfits above and below, both taken from the 1807 campaign in Poland. What he was not was a good commander of large bodies of cavalry, i.e. anything above brigade level.

However, I am not posting these pictures to discuss Murat's career and personality. No, I post them because I want to point out that the pickings are slim in the "personality figure" genre and hope that one day some sculptor will rise to the challenge of creating several version of Murat.

My favorite is the Winter uniform that he wore at Eylau in February 1807. It is a nice mix of showy and practical, what with the fur lining and trim.

Murat leading the grand cavalry charge at Eylau in 1807. By Patrice Courcelle

Both of these pictures are found in the book "Soldiers and Uniforms of Napoleonic Wars" by Francois-Guy Hourtoulle and illustrated by Patrice Courcelle. It is a wonderful book to have in your reference library.


  1. He's a fascinating character Jim - one of the most interesting of the marshals and of course, Napoleon's brother-in-law, being married to the beautiful but notorious Pauline. It's amazing that he hasn't been sculpted more often by figure makers, especially considering his very long record of in-the-thick-of-it action before he ended up in front of a firing squad! One of the few was that put out by Foundry many years ago. Its a good figure (with being a 'great' one) but does up quite well:


  2. Doc, the URL you provided gives me a message that the page no longer exists. I looked through all of your past blog thread titles and could not find the one for Murat. I would like to see how your figure looks.

  3. As I am sure you know, Gilder's Connoisseur Murat is in the first pictured uniform. I love the figure but, alas, not in the uniform you like. It seems that most makers tended to make him in the lancer outfit (Foundry and Minifigs come to mind).
    You should commission your sculptor to make one. I'm sure that it would be profitable! : )
    Love the blog and especially your Elite Napoleonics.

  4. Chris: Gilder's Murat is probably the best one out there. The Foundry Murat was sculpted by the Perry's, but frankly, the Perry's are not at their best when it comes to mounted figures. Their legs tend to be too short and stubby. The Old Glory Murat doesn't thrill me either and besides, I'm looking for something more up to today's sculpting standards.

    I would like to see someone like Paul Hicks or Clibinarium (who does the Warfare Miniatures range) give it a try.

    Richard Ansell would probably make the most dynamic and spectacular Murat ever made, but I kind of feel like I would be poaching on Alban's Napoleonic turf if I went in that direction.