Sunday, 11 February 2018

Band of the 7th Dragoons

I've previously posted some bands which I've scratch built, but wanted to have a band inspired by this picture of the 4th Dragoons from 1813.  Only the 2nd and 7th Dragoons were at Waterloo (many more regiments were with Grouchy).  I thought that if the 4th could still have a band in 1813, why not the 7th in 1815?  Well, no doubt you will tell me that this would have been impossible, but the temptation was too much so here is my band.

Before showing it, I've done some research and two things spring to mind: first, some Dragoon bands clearly wore Grecian helmets and others bicornes.  I've gone with the bicornes.  Secondly, it's worth thinking about the instruments played by the musicians.  This is taken from Historex:

For the English speakers among us, clearly the 'Chinese Hat' is a Jingling Johnnie.  Also note the absence of a kettle drummer and the presence of a Cais Claire - this looks thoroughly uncomfortable for the horse!

Cais Claire

The trombone with an animal head seems to have been popular: is it a duck?!
Hussar band

Here is an original Serpent - it's a shame no one plays these any more in orchestras.  The issue of self-protection for bands seems to be an issue.  I suppose that if you failed to draw your sword in time you could wrap the Serpent around an unwary Prussian's head.

This Bassoon looks more familiar, but playing it at the trot must have been testing.

Finally, did the Band act as stretcher bearers, as in modern armies, or were the bandsmen also trumpeters?

The officer at the front is Franznap with a W1815 dismounted dragoon head

Jingling Johnnie, Triangle and drum



Serpents and bassoons at the back


French horn at the back


  1. Superb band - excellent! Trombones interest me - the Buccin (type of tenor trombone with a dragon's head-shaped bell) was a French development of the early 19C, and had a loud, horn-like tone but limited range of pitch. I wonder whether this indicates that the tenor trombone slide which it used had a shorter travel than the conventional trombone and was useful for mounted use - I am nervous about someone playing a full slide trombone on a moving horse - lots of scope for hitting the horse, and much blood from split embouchures! Maybe the advantage was the small size. Valve trombones would be handy, but later than this period, I think.

    Anyway - great band! Do they do requests?

  2. Dear Foy, as ever your knowledge astounds - I'd struggle to play a trombone standing on my feet, let alone on a horse with gunfire, so your logic sounds impeccable. I don't know whether they do requests, but their sculptor, Eric Bahlouli of Napoleon Miniatures did in this instance - sadly he has shut up shop and I made my bid just as he closed.

  3. Darn and dash it all, Picton, I was going to ask you how you made the instruments! Truly astonishing, as always.

  4. Dear WM, sadly my skills don't run to making instruments this fine, but I'd love to learn! The figures are made of resin so quite delicate, but on a stand they should be safe.