Thursday, 26 September 2013

Sir John Byron

Sorry for the lack of posts this month - real life catching up again.  Also, I don't really have much in the way of new stuff anyway; I have too many different things on the go and I'm not concentrating sufficiently on finishing units before starting others.  That said, there will, I hope, be new AWI militia posted on Sunday and I'm almost ready for a mass of ACW posts.  To tide things over, for the next couple of days I'm going to post about a couple of ECW pieces I painted a good while ago (as long ago as 2009, in fact) and didn't bother talking about at the time.

This is a vignette of Sir John Byron, a staunch supporter of the Royalist cause.  Born in 1599, he became MP for Nottingham in 1624 and was knighted two years later. From 1634 to 1635 he was High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and then Lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1641, although he was forced to give up this latter post as his appointment was opposed by the House of Commons.  He was clearly in very good favour with King Charles, because at some point he became a Gentleman of the Bedchamber (this strange-sounding position was basically a personal servant to the king; according to Wikipedia, the post involved "guarding the royal water-closet", which can't have been much fun when it was in royal use).  In October 1643 he was created 1st Baron Byron of Rochdale. 

In terms of his military service, Byron began the civil was as commander of a cavalry regiment, which saw action at Edgehill.  His ability as a leader of cavalry resulted in him commanding the Royalist right wing at Roundway Down in 1643 and then the centre at the First Battle of Newbury.  Subsequent to his actions in those battles he was ennobled and appointed commander of Royalist forces in Lancashire and Cheshire.  His siege of the town of Nantwitch in  January 1644 was destroyed by a relief force under Fairfax.  In July that year we find him commanding the Royalist right wing at Marston Moor.  After the defeat Byron withdrew to Chester, which he defended against various Parliamentarian sieges until being forced to surrender in February 1646.  In 1648 the future Charles II sought Byron's assistance in what became known as the Second Civil War, but Byron failed to raise support for the Royalist cause in Wales and fled to Ireland.  He appears to have realised that the Royalist resurgence was doomed and headed off to France to join the Duke of York (i.e. the future James II), who was spending his exile serving in the French army.  Byron died at Paris in August 1652.  As he had no children his baronetcy passed to his younger brother, Richard (see below) and then, after three more barons, to the poet Lord Byron.

This command stand is intended to use as a generic "cavalry wing" commander.  The Byron figure is actually a personality figure of his brother, Richard, that was originally a subscriber freebie from Wargames Illustrated.  It is now available from North Star as part of their Trent Miniatures "Newark Characters" range.  I believe Mark Copplestone was the sculptor.  Richard Byron (1606-1679) was a governor of Newark and also fought in the ECW on the Royalist side, being knighted in 1642.  Judging from the fine portrait of John Byron by William Dobson (which is on the left and is also on the cover of Stuart Reid's ECW history "All the King's Armies") the two brothers looked pretty similar.  I wanted a cavalry commander for my Royalist army and thought the Byron figure would fit the bill.  The cornet is from either Renegade or Bicorne - I confess I can't now recall which.  I remember painting the Byron figure well before I left London, and in fact I've found a photo from July 2009 that shows him finished; however the vignette's completion was delayed by the cornet, as I developed a bit of a mental block about painting the horse.  Then in February 2012 I made a conscious effort to finish off various things that I had been working on for too long.  I must make a more general conscious effort to paint more ECW at some stage.

2 figures.  Painted June 2009 and February 2012.


 

9 comments:

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Superb work as always Giles on painting and background! Lately I've been hit by a painting lethargy that has slowed things down. It seems the older I get the more it happens.

Christopher

Will McNally said...

Spendid work, my Byron figure is also in use as a generic ECW commander.

Dalauppror said...

Stunning work !!!

Best regards Michael

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Lovely. I applaud your choice of colors. The brush work is, as always, phenomenal. Lovely stuff.

Sire Godefroy said...

Lovely vignette from the master's hand. And, as always, nice to get some background as well. Hats off!

Cheers, SG
mountainsoflead.com

Chris Stoesen said...

Very nice miniatures. Those are just top notch.

Curt C said...

Lovely command stand, well done!

Millsy said...

Great work mate. Nice to see the background as well

David said...

It may be a blast from the past, but its still a fine piece of work Giles! I'd like to see more.