Saturday, April 13, 2013

Uniformology 101 (The Burgeois de Hamburg)!

      So as you can see it's not always so obvious to tell as to what may be the original source and what may not! Frankly it can be somewhat mind numbing at times.

It can often be much like trying to decipher hieroglyphics! With some deliberate and not so deliberate graffiti involved.

      What you were looking at in the prior posting was a series of plates/prints which I've collected for research purposes over a lengthy period of time. They all come from one of the best known Napoleonic Era Uniform Manuscripts of all time (The Hamburg Manuscript). Called by various titles & descriptions over the years, this has often lead to some confusion sometimes, and routinely occurs when researching original Uniform manuscripts. "The Hamburg Manuscript's" official titles are known as;  

(1.) "Représentation des uniformes de toutes les troupes qui ont été casernées à Hambourg, de l'année, 1806 [i.e. dix-huit cent six] à l'année 1815 [i.e. dix-huit cent quinze] : reproduction de l'album dit, "Manuscrit du bourgeois de Hambourg"


(2.)"Abbildung der Uniformen aller in Hamburg seit den Jahren 1806 bis 1815 einquartirt gewesener Truppen"

Known in English as "The Bourgeois de Hambourg"

      The "Manuscrit du Bourgeois de Hambourg" was published in 1820 from a set of contemporary plates painted by Christian Suhr (1771-1842) and printed by his brother Cornelius (1781-1857). They depict all the troops stationed in or passing through Hamburg, Germany from 1806 to 1815.

      From 1806 to 1815, Christian Suhr, took daily sketches of the many troops who succeeded in the garrison. In 1820 with the help of his brothers, he produced an album of 158 prints which today remains as one of the best known sources of amateurs who painted uniforms of the Empire during the era and remains a premiere documented ( Will discuss what constitutes documented in next posting ) resource

      The Original watercolors: ( Amazingly none of which were shown in the previous posting! As few are known to actually still exist. )

      The layout is 0.31 x 0.19, without either any title, nor any number, and the watercolors can just be identified according to the plate-figures (As shown in the previous post). The Salon de Provence Emperi Museum Library (Much of which has been sold off. Authors note: I've purchased several items from this collection) has got five original watercolors (no 158 and 159), one of them was signed by Cornelius. There may be a few other copies in Germany, but they have certainly been destroyed because of the war. ? It should be mentioned that Knotel certainly knew of a few original plates, his work is actually largely drawn from those: His #14 plate, is in fact a reproduction of #83 of the Bourgeois de Hambourg. (1)

      This however may be incorrect? For instance I was continuing research online and have now found that not only were all these images (painted separately supposedly as originals in the above theory), but they were painted as large groups together as well, which I have rarely ever encountered or seen. So it appears maybe things are backwards (Cart before the horse, Chicken and the egg?) with the originality question. I'm not 100% entirely sure at this point? Possibly it was originally painted in the huge groupings and then later broken down into individual sets of figures but only for the second work (3.) and not the first? There would need to be groupings of the first work as well which I've yet to locate.

Appears to have been the original work, which was what the Suhr brothers are typically known for producing. Scenes around the city of Hamburg.

Later broken down into individual stylized prints of the time with various backgrounds?


Which allowed the artist to provide more details.

Notice all the individual little clothing details of the figures.

      Because of the broad coverage of the various countries and branches, 4 original early copies of the work were known to have been made. To date, 4 of these copies are known:

      The four copies of the original issued Manuscript:

      By 1808, the brothers Suhr had published, after the original plates, a series of 18 colored and engraved plates representing "The Division: La Romana" (see Tradition magazine #131) and, by 1820, the great series of 158 plates (four original copies). This series is known as  "The Manuscript" or "The Burgess of Hamburg's album' for the man series, and "A selection of the different national costumes and the Romana Marquess Division's Uniforms, garrisoned in Hamburg in 1807 and 1808" (1.) and reside here;

1. The library of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce 
2. The town of Hamburg record office
3. One issue in the Brown library (former issue beloning to Bols - Lecomte viscount, who had got it from Noirmont as mentioned by Glasser (Will discuss him in next next post!).
4.The Berlin Lipperheide Library has got one issue. Thats the one we've been consulting. All these are for sure the first four original issues.  (2)     

(Authors note: Umm! NEWSFLASH Tradition #5, the original four don't match based on the above information, but are more understandable only when broken down by their respective titles (1.), (2.), (3.) & production dates!) 

Additional known copies of the Manucript:

- Facsimile with an edition of 12/13 copies in 1899 on the basis of the original library of Commerz Hamburg for a select, French collector group (under the guidance of the famous painter Edouard Detaille).

(Detaille's exact Copy by A. Millot (Member of Sabretache), again, using the original library at Commerz Hamburg. This copy is still in the possession of the Association Sabretache. (Authors note: And has original notes from Knotel? What about (1) above?)

- Limited edition of a facsimile copy of Millot's of 155 copies by Terrel des Chenes in 1902. These copies are sometimes seen on Ebay to buy for a very high price, but they are rare to see.  (Author owns a vellum copy #140)
- From 1922 to 1925 copies made by/for the artist Henri Boisselier by JOB and a copy of an original reference.
- In 1947 M. Ballada made a copy of the first facsimile of 1899, again in an edition of 12 hand-colored copies.

Which is the main work from which it comes and can be found here;

And consists of mainly four parts;

The second lesser known work is entitled:
(3.)"Sammlung verschiedener Spanischer National-Trachten und Uniformen der Division des Marquis de La Romana, 1807 und 1808 in Hamburg in Garnison" 

      Known in English as the "The Spanish Romana Division in Hamburg (1807 - 1808)" which depicts only the Spanish troops from the above titled work.

      Together with his brother Cornelius, Christian Suhr published a small series of 18 panels on the Spanish contingent of the Romana Division in Hamburg during 1807 and 1808.

Which can often lead to confusion with the above work, and be found here;

      The plates are to often attributed incorrectly only to artist Cornelius Suhr, or entirely mislabeled and identified as either Christoffer Suhr, and Peter Suhr. 

 The original brothers Suhr were:
  •   Christof Christoffer (*29 May 1771 in Hamburg, † May 13 1842) Artist.
  • Cornelius (*8 January 1781 in Hamburg, †3 July 1857) Engraver.
  • Peirre Peter (*17 June 1788 in Hamburg, † 20 September 1857) Lithographer.
were German lithographers, painters and draftsmen.

      The brothers Suhr created several hundred lithographs, drawings, prints, graphics and etchings and scenes - since their lifetime - they are considered as the most important artists of Hamburg. As their works mostly served the City of Hamburg and portrayed their national life, and the former suburbs of Hamburg.  

      The pictures of the brothers Suhr continue to shape the concept of Hamburgensie . [1]

      Even though their names are still often confused today. Take the following example for instance;

      Christof Christoffer Suhr completed - in fact the only one of the three brothers - an artistic education. First, he studied with the portrait painter FC Löhr in Hamburg, then later he went to Brunswick to the landscape painter PJF Weitsch to gain more knowledge. Since it was common at that time, as an artist, to visit Italy, Christoffer also explored for three years, from 1792 to 1795, the Mediterranean country. In 1796 he was awarded the Berlin Academy title Professor extraordinarius . Since 1796 he was again based in Hamburg. Christoffer was at that time a prominent portrait painter, he was especially well known for his works of traditional costumes and customs in Hamburg (from 1800) and The Starting in Hamburg (1806/07) [2] . He was a member of the Hamburg Masonic Lodge St. George to verdant pine since 1817.

      Cornelius Suhr worked since 1805 with his brother Christoffer. He mainly worked as an engraver and draftsman, and was to some extent known for the great panoramic views of Hamburg, which he created and whose sales he got.

      Pierre Peter Suhr worked as a businessman. He came relatively late, at around 1819, in the company of his two elder brothers, henceforth designated Spielkartenfabrik and Kupferdruckerey CCP Suhr. He supported Christoffer at Panorama Exhibitions in Hamburg, and built in his way a lithographic press, which he operated from 1828. Peter was the one of the brothers of the original printing and publishing business. He made particular drawing templates for the family business. He has, among other things contributed substantially to the series published in 1829 Views of Hamburg and its environs, which appeared in the folio and octavo. 

      In 1831 he formed the playing card factory and Kupferdruckerey CCP Suhr and the Lithographic Institute Peter Suhrkamp. From 1838 he was working on the ships out of Hamburg's past in pictorial representations in folio format. The images thus found widespread reached a high level of awareness. After the eldest brother had died, Peter led from 1842 in addition to the lithographic press further the Panorama exhibitions.

      Above information was found here;

  1. Hamburger Abendblatt article Hamburgensie - Only in Hamburg on 26 June 2002
  2. The five senses , color lithograph by Christoffer clock on the front page of Lichtwark Issue No. 69th Publisher HB Commercial, Hamburg-Bergedorf, 2004 ISSN 1862-3549 . (As of 31 May 2010).

1 comment:

  1. I think you have gone to some lengths to illustrate a very important point, namely how all sources, whether pictorial or written should be handled. It is important to understand how any source was created and that not all sources are created equal. For example, the eyewitness pictures of Austrian troops by Klein and Kobell are very different from the Tranquillo Mollo and Eder plates, which were intended to reflect the ideal. TM's plates were engraved for printing and subsequently adjusted to reflect uniform changes. Likewise, Klein and Kobell are better than Seele (aka the Augsburgbilder), as Seele saw these troops in 1799, but didn't paint them up until 1803-4. His prints do then vary in colour in various printings just like the French ones you discuss. All these artists could be making errors and one Austrian problem is that many illustrations of Grenzers and Freikorps show simple yellow stripes and loops on Hungarian style trousers rather than the official yellow-black - is this artistic laziness, error or a matter of fact?

    It is even more important to understand the sourcing, when you deal with secondary artists such as the Knotels. Richard Knötel (January 12, 1857 – April 26, 1914) or Knotel snr is quite highly regarded, but if you look at the notes attached to many of his pictures, (such as the collection in the V&A in London), you will read him asking for information and the replies which came in, many pointing to Ottenfeld for Austrian info. Herbert Knotel is much more suspect and certainly in his Austrian plates, had the late Colonel Elting over! He used Ottenfeld and in one case used an 1830s officer to illustrate an 1800 man!

    the lesson is: take care with sources and understand them, rather than blindly relying on them.

    Dave Hollins