Two Napoleonic Veterans

The collection of 15 sepia photographs of veterans of the Napoleonic Wars is frequently sought after. Numerous articles have been written about this group of aged men, most of whom are still wearing their old uniforms. Some researchers have colorized digital versions of the images while others have attempted to explore the names of these old soldiers using the surname of each written on the verso in a modern hand. As to when Mrs. Brown acquired these pictures, there is no information on the dealer or provenance of these photographs. Until now, even the name of the photographer was unknown.

Recently, the Military Collection acquired two additional photographs of Napoleonic veterans, both hand-colored, but in both cases, the names of the sitters as well as information concerning the photographer appear on the images, and thanks to research conducted by a Belgian photographic historian, Wouter Lambrechts, it is now possible to attribute the complete set of photographs to a specific photographer.

Both pictures bear a partial address on the mount (4, Rue Frochot, Quartier St. George), and Lambrechts has identified this as the address of the studio of Erwin Hanfstaengl (1838-1904) also known as Erwin frères who occupied the premises in Paris from 1863. The paneling behind the portrait of Dorigny matches that on some of the other photographs; while the furniture which appears in the Bonneville photograph and several others appears also in some carte de visites taken by Hanfstaengl of civilians, which Lambrechts located (these are also now in the Military Collection).

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