Monday, January 9, 2017

Francis I and Montmorency Surveying the Investment of Pavia, October 1524 - 4th Submission to AHPC VII

For our 'Armour' theme, I've returned to the Italian Wars with a vignette of Francis I of France overseeing the investment of Pavia, October 1524. 

Francis is seen here with his helmet under his arm, discussing the proposed dispositions of the French siege with one of his advisors, Montmorency, Marshal of France. The two men have recently arrived in front of the city and have placed a map of Pavia on a makeshift table made from a wagon wheel set on a tree stump. A pair of Francis' hunting dogs, Alaunts (a breed now sadly extinct), are at his side.  His banner-bearer, bored out of his mind, stands at the rear, holding the Royal Standard. Francis' attendants have brought out a stool with a refreshment of wine in pewter goblets.

Francis' figure is roughly based on an oil-on-wood painting from an unknown artist which was contemporary to the battle. In the painting he is depicted wearing gold armour with a red surcoat emblazoned with a large central cross. 

I kept the red surcoat, but instead painted him in his tournament armour, which in real life is  beautifully detailed with representations of fleur de lis on the knees, elbows and helmet (which, of course, nobody can see now due to the placement of the figures. Doh!). Francis' armour can be seen today at the musée de l’Armée, Les Invalides. 

The figures of Francis, Montmorency and his standard bearer are from the very talented Oliver James over at Steel Fist Miniatures.  These were part of a Kickstarter which I participated in a year or so ago and are now available on his website.

The two Alaunts were sculpted by Steve May as a private commission for Simon over at le Jay Emprins, who kindly provided me with a couple sets (Thanks Simon!).

Alaunts at the kill of a wild boar from The Grimami Breviary, 1490
The tree stump, wagon wheel, stool, wine bottle and goblets I printed off on my 3D printer (I LOVE that thing).

Francis' brave banner is from Pete's Flags.

As a historical postscript, the French siege of Pavia went on too long and a Imperialist relief force was dispatched to attempt to raise the siege. After a bold night march, the Spanish Imperial army smashed Francis' forces on 24th February, 1525. As the ultimate disgrace, Francis himself was captured and sent to Spain as a prisoner to negotiate his own release.


Next Up: I think something from Indochina is in order.