Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Stettin Print of 1631

As I am busy painting my first Highlanders for the Royalist Army, I thought I would add a short post on the Stettin Print of 1631. The print, made from a woodcut, is important because it is one of the few contemporary illustrations of highland soldiers dressed in highland fashion of the time. It is also one of the earliest depictions of recognizable highland attire in Scotland, such as kilts and tartan. 

The print shows four scottish mercenaries in the service of the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years War. The fortified town in the distance is thought to be the Baltic town of Stettin (Szczecin) mentioned in the header, and from where the print gets it's name. Stettin is located in Northern Poland near the modern German border.  

The Stettin Print, 1631 (Public Domain)

The heading above the print reads in German "Irish Soldiers In solchem Habit Gehen die 800 In Stettin angekommen Irrlander oder Irren" which translates "The 800 Irish, or fools, that have arrived in Stettin are marching in this habit (clothing style)". Although the author called these soldiers Irish, they appear to be scottish highlanders. It may be that the highlanders use of the gaelic (Irish) language led many germans to believe they were Irish. Their clearly different appearance to contemporary lowland scots, also serving in Germany in lage numbers, may have added to the confusion. Note the pun in the headline, where the word "irren", meaning fools or those who are in error, is used as an alternate word for the Irish. "Irrlander oder Irren" = Irish or numpties. Thanks to Anonymous for pointing this out in the comments section below.

From left to right a description of each figure:
  1. A bearded highlander clad in what appears to be a sleeveless tartan long coat which closes at the front. This is worn over shirt and possibly trews, although the figure may also be bare-legged. Scots bonnet (presumably blue). Armed with long bow and quiver. The long coat is quite controversial and many believe that this is a badly drawn belted plaid (the more traditional highland attire). However the right-most two figures (3 and 4) are clearly wearing belted plaids so it seems like the artist knows what a belted plaid looks like and is drawing what he saw. 
  2. Clean-shaven highlander wearing knee-length tartan breeches and tartan hose. Sleeveless round-necked doublet (must fasten to rear or shoulders?) over a shirt. Scots bonnet. This is the only figure armed with a musket, and he also wears a short sword, which is most likely a scots dirk.
  3. Bearded highlander wearing a belted plaid. The plaid is pulled over both shoulders like a blanket or cloak against the weather. Again, a scots bonnet is worn on the head. This figure is armed with a longbow and quiver, and dirk. Interestingly, this figure is barefoot.
  4. The final bearded figure on the right is wearing a belted plaid wrapped in a more familiar fashion, and worn over a shirt. The ubiquitous scots bonnet on the head. He is armed with a dirk or sword and a deadly walking stick!
In the near distance is a regiment of highland soldiers wearing plaid. This is also contentious as it is believed most scots mercenaries would have been (re-) clothed and (re-) equipped in a more conventional manner for the german wars, although there are references to units of "red-shanks" (bare-legged) highlanders in Germany. Regardless of how they dressed once established on the continent, or how quickly highland attire was abandoned, these prints give a rare insight into the highland dress of the time.

The original print can had some accompanying written description.

The original Stettin Print with German text, 1631 (Public Domain)

The german text immediately below the illustration reads:  “They are a strong, hardy race, contenting themselves with little food, if they have no bread they eat roots and carrots; in case of necessity they are able to walk twenty German miles in a day; they have besides muskets, their bows and quivers and long knives. 1631” 

The same woodcut also features on a contemporary broadside (a one-sided, single sheet newspaper).

Stettin Print featured in German broadside, 1631 (Public Domain)

In addition to its value to the historian, the text on this broadside contains a few nuggets for both the war-gamer and the modeller/painter, on the fighting prowess and hardiness of the highlanders, as well as their appearance. But reading it, you can't help but feel a little sorry for the poor burghers of Stettin, who on top of the hardship of war, are descended upon by a horde of bare-arsed, whisky swilling cheuchters...

"In these latter wicked days among other calamities - God has inflicted this upon us - that foreign nations interfere with us, increase from day to day, desolate our fields, lay waste our land, and commit great and shameful sins. More especially they impose this retribution upon our a-la-modish people, many a-la-modish folk, quite unknown before, now invade our country to avenge our a-a-modish sins. Great numbers arrive from distant Ireland, called Hibernians from that Island. This people are hardy and strong, dark-coloured like Gipsies, short in stature, eager to fight, furnished with muskets and quivers, skilful in the use of bows and arrows ready, to cut their way with long knives, they run fast so that they can make sixteen miles a day. Their clothes and caps have a barbarous appearance almost all black, all their sheep being as is well known, of a dark colour; their shoes are chiefly made of and tied on with bark of trees. They make shift with little food; if they have no bread and are hungry they dig roots out of the earth, with which they are easily appeased. Because, then, God has sent such people into our land on account of our great sin and shame, let us cease from sin, that he may again take pleasure in us, and restore peace to the land, and every one may follow his honest calling."

There is another surviving German broadside, also from 1631, with a very interesting woodcut which shows "Der Irlander" (an Irishman - but most probably a highlander), "der lappe" (a Laplander), and "der Finlander" (a Finn). This is basically a small sample of the terrifying, strangely clad northmen that descended on Germany for the wars.

German broadside featuring highland soldier, 1631 (Public Domain)

However, what is most interesting about this woodcut, is the way the highlander is clothed. A close-up of the scot shows he is wearing a sleeveless tartan long coat. A garment that is clearly not a belted plaid. Now it is always possible that the artist copied figure (1) in the Stettin Print and propagated what could be an error, but with the detail in this print, and the seemingly large numbers of highlanders that were around, I reckon the artist was drawing exactly what he saw.

The sleeveless tartan long coat is closed to the front, belted with a cloth or scarf, and worn over a shirt. Unfortunately it is difficult to tell if he is bare-legged or wearing trews under the coat. I suspect that trews were worn with this garment for warmth as there is not near as much cloth in this coat as there is in a full belted plaid. This well armed chap is carrying a musket, longbow and quiver, and a dirk or short-sword. And of course the outfit is completed with an unfeasibly large Scots (blue) bonnet.

These prints were the principle reference I used to request the range of 28mm English Civil War Highlanders that were produced through the Eureka 100 Club back in May of 2007. The figures can be seen on the photos of articles on highlanders (see labels) on the blog. They have also inspired a couple of Osprey artists including Angus McBride (Highland Clansmen, Warrior 21) and Graham Turner (Scots Armies of the English Civil Wars, MAA 331), both of whom include a highlander wearing sleeveless long coat in their illustrated plates.

I would love to see a photograph of a re-enactor wearing one of these sleeveless tartan coats. If you come across one, please let me know via the comments below.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MacColla's Lifeguard WIP 2

Finished a grey plaid this evening and pretty happy with the result. Base is Foundry Granite 31 ABC. Stripes are watered-down Foundry Slate Grey 32A. GW Chaos Black on the cross points of the stripes to complete. Just started working on a reddish tartan on the chap to the left.

Again figure is by Eureka from the ECW Highlanders. This model is a regular highland musketeer loading matchlock. He is wearing the sleeveless highland long coat as seen in the "Stettin Print" of 1631 (see article posted above), which shows highland mercenaries in Germany during the Thirty Years War.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"The Flag" - a short film about Irish Confederates

Stumbled across this film (link at bottom of post) by accident on the Facebook page of an Irish historical re-enactment group called Claíomh (Irish for sword) Living History. The group, based in Ireland, re-create many different periods from the Middle Ages through to Early Modern. Photographs of this group portraying troops of the Irish Catholic Confederacy were featured in the excellent Osprey book, "Ireland 1649-52: Cromwell's Protestant Crusade" (Campaign 213).

Irish Confederate Ensign with colours, as portrayed by Claiomh

This short film is set in the aftermath of Cromwell's sack of Drogheda, shows 3 surviving Irish Confederacy soldiers, including an Ensign with his Confederacy colours, considering the course of action. The flag is based on the same descriptions for those of the Marquis of Antrim's Irish Brigade sent to the Scottish mainland to intervene in the war on behalf of the King. Antrim (see side bar) was himself on the council of the Irish Catholic Confederacy during 1644, and was Lt General of all confederate forces (although he resigned this commission before sending the Irish Brigade to Scotland).

"The Flag"

Anyway, I love the look these guys have achieved for the Confederates, it is very close to how I imagined them to look, so I reckon this is a great little short for all fans of the Irish soldier during the ECW! They have also added a second film on the Irish galloglas. And have a look at their Facebook page for more great photos like the one above.

MacColla's Lifeguard WIP

Been spending Sunday afternoon trying out some different color schemes and practicing painting tartan for MacColla's Lifeguard. This excellent Hebridean chap is from the Eureka ECW Higlanders range that I commissioned via the 100 Club a few years back. He is wearing the highland long coat (as opposed to the belted plaid).

Shirt is painted a drab yellow ochre using a mix of GW Tausept Ochre and Coat d'Arms Negro for the Base. GW Tausept Ochre (and a pinch of CdA Negro) for mid and GW Tausept Ochre plus GW Bleached Bone to highlight.

The plaid coat is painted using GW Charadon Granite (mixed with a little black) for the base. The stripes are GW Gnarloc Green. Where the stripes cross is a square of GW Gnarloc Green mixed with GW Bleached Bone. The final thin red stripe is watered down GW Scab Red with. Dot of GW Blood Red plus GW Macharius Solar Orange where the lines cross.

All my Scots Bonnets are painted as follows; (Base) GW Necron Abyss (Blue) mixed mixed with a little Black, (Mid) GW Shadow Grey mixed with a little of the Base, and (Highlight) GW Shadow Grey mixed with Foundry Sky Blue 21C.

This is also my first attempt to blog from my iPhone so fingers crossed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flags for the Irish Brigade II

Below are the flags I created in Photoshop for my latest Irish Regt. They are another 2 of the 12 flags listed by Reid in "Scots Armies of the C17th. III: The Royalist Armies, 1639-46" (Partizan Press). Descriptions of all 12 of the Irish colours, including the latin motto with translation are also included in "The English Emblematic Tradition (3): Emblematic Flag Devices of the English Civil Wars, 1642-1660" by Alan R. Young (Ed.). This excellent tome can also be previewed online at Google Books. I was lucky enough to pick up a good copy of this book a few years back and if you can get it for a decent price, it is a must for all civil war flag-o-philes.

Most of the 12 colours described, including these two, have overt catholic imagery, and latin religious mottos, both features that would have horrified the zealous presbyterian Scottish citizenry of the time. All of the colours are thought to have featured a red saltire on a yellow field in the canton, and the Royal Crown and cypher (CR), together with the latin motto "Vivat Carolus Rex", or "long-live King Charles".

The first colour is a blue sheet with "the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus in her arms, and with her heels trampling on a serpent's head". The motto on this sheet is "CUNCTAS HARESES INTEREMIST", which translates as "Thou hast overcome all heresies".

The second is a white sheet, with "an armed man setting fire to John Calvin's book Institutes". The book is inscribed "Calv:Instit". The motto on this sheet is "SIC PEREUNT HARESES", which translates as "Thus Heresies Perish". The motto is incorrect in Reid's book, but I had made the flags before I discovered about the error, so my flag reads "SIO PEREUNT HARESES". Easily fixed with a dab of white paint or pixels.

I did not intentionally select the two flags containing latin tirades against heresies, but it's safe to say, this unit does not like heretics.

Both flags were made in photoshop, and printed on good quality paper. They were subsequently entirely re-painted, to give them the hand-painted look. They were cut out, folded and glued to a 6 cm steel pin using superglue. The paper fold was then glued together using a glue stick. The flag was then cut to give a torn and ragged campaign look, and folded by rolling gently around a paint brush handle while the glue is still wet.

I have more Irish Flags ready for MacColla's Lifegaurd and will share these once the unit is ready. The two flags for my first Irish unit can be found here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wild Irish

It has been a lot longer between Irish regiments than I originally planned, almost 4 years in fact! In the meantime I have been living and working in India with my family. Apart from a little work on this unit the Royalist half of Project Auldearn has essentially been in mothballs while I was in India. I returned to Texas about 6 months ago, and finding a house, moving and unpacking took me through to January. I then spent some time setting up a gaming room, built a couple of gaming tables (but that's for another post) and eventually got around to setting up my painting table. After working on some terrain and a War of the Ring Army for my son, I finally sat down earlier this year, and finished up this second regiment of Fightin' Irish.

Shot Sleeve led by (Perry) Seargent

Looking along the line

There were three Irish regiments in Montrose's Irish Brigade; (1) Lt. General Alexander McDonnell's Regt, commanded by Major Thomas Laghtman as McDonnell had pulled a sickie and stayed at home, (2) Colonel Manus O'Cahan's Regt, and (3) Colonel James MacDonnell's Regt. The brigade was led by Major General Alisdair MacColla "The Devastator". As a result of severe attrition (desertion, sickness and battle casualties) the Irish Brigade is thought to have mustered only around 800 men at Auldearn. Of this a detachment of 140 was under direct command of MacColla, serving as his lifeguard (more on this unit soon).

Montrose leads his Irish to victory again

Both regiments together with Montrose

My latest regiment represents MacDonnell's Regiment. At 1:10 figure to man ration, it is over-strength for Auldearn, but I have painted larger units than I need to facilitate gaming the other earlier battles, as well as fictional scenarios.

Unfortunate covenanter infantryman is run down by the Irish

Left Shot Sleeve

Pike and Command

Right Shot Sleeve

The figures are mostly Eureka Irish, for the most part selected from various 'charging' poses. As with the first Irish regiment, I have added the occasional scots bunnit using greenstuff, and the highland targes (shields) are from the Old Glory ECW range. Casualty figures and Sergant are from Perry. Selecting good command models was difficult for this unit as Eureka do not make 'charging' Irish Command figures, only 'standing' command. Fortunately I was able to use Perry ECW command models from their English Command Advancing pack.

The colours

More on the flags soon

Pikes are 8cm steel pins from Foundry. I was tempted to equip this unit with 'half-pikes' as suggested by Reid in his various books on the subject, however they just didn't look right so i reverted to the full length pikes. I may still equip the third and final Irish regt with half-pikes.


Another close up of the colours

The unit is based on Litko 3mm plywood bases with self-adhesive flexible steel bottoms. The bases are textured with wood-filler, sand & gravel, primed black and then painted GW Scorched Brown. They are then dry-brushed 3 times; (1) GW Graveyard Earth, (2) GW Kommando Khaki, (3) GW Bleached Bone. The painted bases are finally decorated with Static Grass, adhesive tufts, and finally clump foliage (occasionally topped with purple flock to look like heather).

Hold the line!

The Eureka 'charging' pike models are superb

Flags are prepared in photoshop by hand and printed on good quality paper. The are then hand-painted over, cut and glued onto a 6cm steel pin (Foundry) using super glue and a Pritt Stick. The flag is folded when the paper glue is still wet and when dry, final highlights are applied. The flags were then attached to the ensign models, and the flag staff was painted. Careful placement of the ensign and pike models was required on the bases to avoid the flags and pikes from interfering with each other.

The Irish were painted using mostly Foundry paints, with some Games Workshop and Coat d'Arms colours. Colours used were mostly drabs, greys, browns and other muted colours. I can provide the exact palettes used on request.

NEXT UP for the Royalists - MacColla's Lifeguard.