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Sayers, Henry, 1819 or 1820–1891
Toy soldier paper dolls.
Additional Title(s):
Regiments of soldiers &c. &c. cut out painted &c. &c. by Mr Sayers when young.
Great Britain, ca. 1830.
Physical Description:
245 toy soldier paper dolls ; in box 33 x 27 x 9 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NK494.M5 S29 1830 Flat A
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Archives & Manuscripts
The "Mr. Sayers" identified on the box top is likely the reverend Henry Sayers. The Manchester Guardian of May 16, 1891, notes his passing: " ... the Rev. Henry Sayers, M.A., first incumbent of St. James's, Hope, Eccles. Mr. Sayers was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and was admitted to the ad eundem degree of M.A. at Oxford in 1857 ... [When] the picturesque church of St. James, Hope, on the Eccles Old Road, was consecrated, in December, 1861, he was appointed first incumbent ..."
Selected exhibitions: "Recent Acquisitions and Gifts" (Yale Center for British Art, May 19-August 15 2005)
Colored wash over pen and black ink.
Consists of 245 individually drawn and colored cut-paper toy soldiers, in a wooden box. The coloring is sufficiently accurate and detailed that it is possible to recognize the regiments and to date the uniforms within a matter of a few years in the late 1820s/early 1830s. The best represented regiment is the 9th (The East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, with 89 figures, including sergeants and lieutenants. Also present is a Grenadier Company of 26, 23 bandsmen, two ensigns bearing the Colors, a Royal Horse Guards mounted band, and groups from the Gordon Highlanders (with a piper) and the 1st Dragoon Guards. The wooden box has a mahogany stain and a later paper label pasted to the lid with inscription "Regiments of soldiers &c. &c. cut out painted &c. &c. by Mr Sayers when young - looked at & put by Oct-Nov 1909."
The repair to the reverse of the single figure of a Field Marshal and the fact that the infantry figures have been equipped with hinged paper "props" so that they can be arranged in ranks indicate that the soldiers were for playing with. It is, however, unclear how the cavalry were deployed. The wooden box is simply constructed with lid hinged on wire staples and a brass lock; the upper part of the lock is missing, but the brass key remains.
The wooden box also contains a small notebook containing a manuscript account of the Battle of Waterloo. The account, 32 pages, is written in pen and brown ink on blue paper ruled in pencil. The volume is stitched into blue paper wrappers. The title page reads: "A short account of the Battle of Waterloo, fought on the 18th of June 1815. Sold by [illegible] Book Society." With a watercolor frontispiece and a pen and ink sketch of the uniforms of various regiments on the final page (the sketch very similar in style to the cut out figures). The text is apparently not a direct copy of any published work, but a genuine attempt to create an account composed of memorable incidents from the battle. With the autograph of Mary Cawdry [?] on back cover.
The material is accompanied by various printed items used as informal envelopes to house the soldiers. These include portions of an unidentifiable Irish newspaper; an issue of "Papers relative to the Wesleyan Missions ..." for December 1836; and two parts of a leaflet relating to subscriptions being raised to build the Church of St. James's, Hope, near Eccles in 1860 (the secretary to this endeavor being, possibly significantly, Henry Sayers, MA).
Subject Terms:
Cawdry, Mary -- Autograph.
Great Britain. Army -- Pictorial works.
Great Britain. Army. Gordon Highlanders.
Great Britain. Army. Regiment of Dragoons, 1st (Royal)
Military miniatures -- Specimens.
Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815.
Paper soldiers -- Specimens.
Sayers, Henry, 1819 or 1820-1891.
St. James (Hope) (Salford, England)
Waterloo, Battle of, Waterloo, Belgium, 1815.
Paper dolls.
IIIF Manifest:

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