Category:Napoleonic War dioramas (display)

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Past Displays and Exhibitions

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Napoleonic War Dioramas

? - 2010

Arch One

100 Years of Steam

Ambulance Station

Bleriot to Concorde

Britains Floral Garden

British Toy Racing Cars

Coronation Scot at Brighton Toy and Model Museum

Doctor Who Exhibition

The Fairground

Forts and Castles

Hailey Models

Hop on a bus

Japanese Dolls

Leeds Model Company (LMC)

Legend of Hornby

Models of Yesteryear (display)

Napoleonic War dioramas

Postal Toys

The Smurfs

The Spot-On Collection

RMS Titanic

World War One

== this section may refer to an older museum exhibition that is no longer on display ==

Denis Hefford's "Napoleonic Wars" dioramas were a popular feature in the museum foyer from their installation in around ~1997-98. In 2010 they were moved to Belgium, under the care of the committee organising the commemoration of the Napoleon 1812 anniversary and the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (in Belgium) in 1815.

They are now semi-permanently located in Belgium (two with the Wavre tourist office).

The Rise and Fall of Napoleon, by D. Hefford

I have always been fascinated by military history, from ancient times to World War II. The Napoleonic period is particularly rich in military uniforms and due to the availability of first class figures from Historex of France I was able to assemble and paint a small number of these.

It was when a great friend and work partner of mine, Chris Littledale, put forward the plan for a toy and model museum that the germ of an idea to create military dioramas was conceived.

The result is five dioramas based on Napoleon's rise and fall. The dioramas are between 3 and 4 feet long by about 2 feet deep. As may be imagined they took a long time. Looking back l find it difficult to believe that I created them as my style of painting generally was suited to large numbers of figures rather than these superb individual pieces.

The diorama titled "Cest la Garde", for example, has one hundred and forty figures.

In addition to these there are, of course, the buildings and scenery to be modelled and painted.

  • Two dioramas feature the Emperor. The first is "Friedland" which was based on the famous picture painted in about 1830 by Messonier and shows him in Chasseur uniform.
  • The other is the "Retreat From Moscow" in which Napoleon appears in his famous grey overcoat.
  • In the scene entitled "Skirmish of Quatre Bras" the figures are by Airfix, which although slightly lacking in quality, are still good.
  • The finale is "Victory at Waterloo" and was the end of hopes and ambitions of Napoleon, Wellington and Prince Blucher are shaking hands amid jubilant Prussian and British soldiers. I have tried to put atmosphere into these scenes and have researched some of the buildings for fuller authenticity.

My thanks must be extended to Mr. Sangster of of Historex in Dover for supplying the military kits. He also gave me a number of figures ideal for use as civilians free of charge!

To gild the lily I have painted flags of the various nations involved and positioned them above the dioramas. All these scenes may be viewed at Chris Littledale's museum at Brighton where I feel they are displayed to superb effect alongside other military exhibits both toy and model.

— , D. Hefford, , The Rise and Fall of Napoleon, , Military Modelling, Vol.27 No.3, , 1997

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