Rout of the French Imperial Guard at Waterloo Postcards

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Set of 10 postcards with envelopes showing The Rout of the French Imperial Guard at Waterloo, 18 June 1815.

This painting by the South African-born artist, Jason Askew (b. 1966), was commissioned by The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum to mark the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

It is 7.50 p.m. on Sunday, 18th June 1815. A column of the French Imperial Guard has just been repulsed by the 1st Foot Guards of Major-General Maitland’s brigade (top left, red uniforms, colours flying). The final column of advancing chasseurs (centre, middle ground) is about to be attacked in the flank by the 52nd Light Infantry of Major-General Adam’s brigade (bottom right).

Colonel Sir John Colborne, commanding the 52nd, who, on his own initiative, ordered his Regiment to move forward and attack the Imperial Guard in the flank, is shown on his horse with his sword raised (bottom right). Ensign William Leeke, aged 17, who survived and wrote a vivid account about the manoeuvre, is to his left carrying the 52nd’s Regimental Colour. (Ensign Nettles carrying the King’s Colour was killed earlier in the day and the Colour was not recovered until the following day.)

The 2nd/95th Rifles (bottom left), commanded by Captain Logan, on foot carrying a sword, are providing fire support for the 52nd with their Baker rifles. The 4th Chasseurs of the French Imperial Guard, with an Eagle and Tricolour prominent in the centre of the painting, are facing outwards to oppose the 52nd. On the hill (top left) the Duke of Wellington on horseback is surveying the scene, accompanied by Baron Tripp, 60th Regiment, aide-de-camp to HRH The Prince of Orange.

Within minutes the Imperial Guard is routed under the sudden impact of the 52nd’s musketry and a battalion charge, bayonets fixed. Wellington then orders his army to advance and the Allied victory at Waterloo soon follows.

This painting hangs in the RGJ (Rifles) Museum, Peninsula Barracks, Winchester, Hampshire and was generously funded and presented to the RGJ Museum by the London Branch of The Royal Green Jackets Regimental Association.

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