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Detailed account of horses by a Dutch cavalry officer who served Prussia against Napoleon Bonaparte
with 31 beautiful watercolour drawings (30 in colour) showing 32 horses

[MANUSCRIPT - HORSES - MILITARY].
Anecdoten van paarde kenners, paarde liefhebbers, ruijters en ross-kammers. Naar waarheid en eijge ondervinding opgesteld. Door een gepensioneerd cavallerie officier.
[The Netherlands, ca. 1815]. Folio (38 x 24 cm). Manuscript on paper written in brown ink in a readable Latin hand, with the title on p. 72, illustrated with 30 small watercolour drawings of horses mounted on the leaves (mostly about 8.5 x 11 cm), and a washed pen drawing with 5 caricature figures before a monument (9.5 x 16 cm), mounted above the dedication. Half vellum (1930s?), gold-tooled spine.
€ 17,500
Very beautifully illustrated manuscript by a retired Dutch cavalry officer who had been in Prussian service against Napoleon Bonaparte in the years 1806 to 1813, giving his personal account of the horses he kept and traded during his career. The fine watercolours, executed with great care and refined draughtsmanship, show portraits of all 31 horses the author once owned. The text of the manuscript is also of considerable interest. The author relates many entertaining stories and includes many personal details his lifelong schooling in horsemanship, displaying a profound knowledge of horses. He also gives accounts of his daily life in the Prussian army. The manuscript provides insight into the life of the Silesian and Saxon noblemen, proceedings at the horse market in Leipzig, the situation of the army before the Battle of Jena, etc. Moreover, it gives a detailed descriptions of the terrible plundering of the French Wurtenberger Light Cavalry in Silesia, in 1806, and of the Russian invasion of Wohlau in 1813. Separate treatises devoted to these incidents precede the main part of the manuscript (the anecdotes and other information concerning horses) and serve as a sort of preface to them. The author also gives an account of his stay at the camp of the Count van Salm near Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, of a horseback trip from Vianen to Utrecht, during which his horse fell and died, and another trip, from The Hague to Zutphen, on a tireless Zeeland horse. The manuscript explicitly refers to events from 1806 to June 1813 and was probably written soon after the latter date.
In 1917 the manuscript apparently belonged to Nicolaas Gerhard van Huffel (1869-1936), physicist, amateur painter, collector of graphic art and teacher at the school of graphic arts in Utrecht. The ink borders drawn around the mounted drawings have sometimes bled through the paper and on two leaves the stiffness of the mounted drawing has caused the manuscript leaf to tear along that border, a small and mostly marginal tear affects one word of the text, and there is a marginal stain in the foot margin of a couple leaves and occasional minor foxing, but the manuscript is still in very good condition, most of the watercolour drawings fine. A remarkable horse manuscript, providing insight into horse trading & keeping, and army life in the period 1806 to 1813 and with 30 beautiful watercolour drawings of horses.
Nicolaas Gerard van Huffel, in: Oude Kunst II (1917), pp. 248-252.
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Autographs, documents & manuscripts  >  Manuscripts & Documents
Europe  >  Germany
Horses, hunting, sport & games  >  Horses & Horsemanship
Military history  >  Drawings, Prints & Watercolours | Military History 19th & 20th Century