Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

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Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Jonathan » 02 May 2015 23:11

I recently acquired a 19th century Egyptian helmet for the Khedive's Palace Guard or Bodyguard. Does anyone have or know of any photographs of this unit wearing their full kit (including steel and brass helmet and cuirass)? Any help would be much appreciated!

Thank you,
Jonathan

http://www.ottoman-uniforms.com/crimean ... t-tunisia/

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16920
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Egypt Helmet 1 small.jpg
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 03 May 2015 01:16

Hello Jonathan:

Congratulations on acquiring such a fine example of one of these helmets. The odd example appears on the market every few years and some of them are in pretty rough condition. I suspect that some work by a qualified conservation specialist would return your artifact to its former glory in a short space of time.

I'm afraid that I don't recall having ever seen a photograph of H.H. the Khedive's Iron Men, as they were apparently called. There are a few contemporary drawings ( from the early 1880's ) and I will attach them to this message, in case you're interested. Whilst not claiming to be any sort of expert in these matters, some of the statements made in the two web links mentioned in your post are a little questionable but this simply serves to underscore the lack of reliable reference material available in English.

Even the two drawings, and supporting captions, attached below are a little puzzling. The drawing from Le Drapeau, dating from July 1882, depicts two members of the Khedive's Bodyguard sporting these helmets but wearing chain mail, not the breastplate illustrated in your link. The other drawing, a more familiar detail from the Illustrated London News of 1882, shows Figure 2 as the Khedive's Bodyguard. He is dressed in tarboush and tunic while the helmeted figures, Fig. 4 and Fig. 6 ( looking decidedly less military! ) are labelled as Circassian Irregulars. Could it be that by this period the archaic armour had been relegated to " Third Line " troops? Certainly by 1882 the rest of the Egyptian Army was quite well-equipped with modern artillery, machine guns and small arms and the concept of almost medieval looking soldiers guarding the head of state might have seemed incongruous.

Anyway, my apologies for not answering your question, I'll now have a look for any photographs of your helmet in actual use.

Cheers,

Mark
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EA 1882 ILN - Copy (2).jpg
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EA 1882 Le Drapeau IMG_20150430_0004 - Copy.jpg
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Jonathan » 03 May 2015 03:26

Mark,
Thank you for your excellent reply. The images you attached are new to me and very much appreciated. I feel competent enough to remove the active rust on my own, I am quite conservative when it comes to conservation so I will not over clean the helmet. Depending on cost, I might at some point see if it would be possible to have the missing pieces fabricated and added. Or I might just enjoy it as is. As you can see, it is missing its mail aventail, chin straps, and the leather lining.

Thanks again!

Jonathan

PS--The men in the Gardes du Corps image appear to be wearing the French pattern cavalry sword--does that appear to be accurate? If I have the helmet, I had better get the sword. I know that Wilkinson did supply the Egyptian Army with French style cavalry swords.
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 03 May 2015 04:46

Hello again, Jonathan:

Happy to have been of some assistance.

Yes, I believe that the Egyptian Army adopted the French pattern cavalry sword at some point in the mid-19th century, along with French horse furniture, French drill, French bugle calls and so on. I'm not very knowledgeable about swords but have attached a couple of photos of Egyptian Artillery NCO's which provide some good views of their swords. I would be delighted to hear a definitive pronouncement on their identification from a sword expert so that I can file it away in my records. I used to have close-up photos of a 19th century Egyptian sword that sold on eBay several years ago but lost it when an " old " computer died suddenly.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Jonathan » 03 May 2015 04:52

Mark,
That is definitely the French cavalry sword pattern.

Jonathan
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 03 May 2015 04:53

Sorry, I had a problem attaching both images to the same message. Will try again.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Jonathan » 03 May 2015 06:50

The French pattern again--wonderful images!
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 03 May 2015 13:49

Hello again:

Well done on identifying the swords. I was just thinking that it might be worthwhile havng a look at photographs of the Opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Khedive Ism'ail invited " everyone " and made a huge effort to present Egypt in its best light. There may be a few " Iron Men " lurking behind his throne or surrounding his retinue?

I'll keep looking in my limited library for any other images of your helmet.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 06 May 2015 03:35

Hello again:

Lest you think I forgot, herewith a few more images of your helmet.

1) This painting by Vernet appears in a book written by Prince Umar Tousan in 1940 and depicts Egyptian Regular Cavalry c. 1828.
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 06 May 2015 03:49

No photo yet but this rather poor quality image is taken from a French illustrated paper of 1840 and provides a rather sketchy view of what is described as a man of a cuirassiers regiment. The French text states that his cloak is red and that he sports an embroidered vest and pale blue trousers, although white nether wear is worn in the summer. His horse furniture consists of a black lambskin shabraque while his iron helmet has chain mail, gilded copper fittings and an arrow nose-guard. I cropped out the text in order to make the image fit but I can send a scan of the whole page if you like.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Jonathan » 06 May 2015 18:05

Thank you, Mark! Based on the dates of these photos, it seems that this style of helmet pre-dates the "Model 1844" date assigned to in on some sites. Here is a great Pinterest page on the Khedives of Egypt, and it includes a number of good images including prints of Egyptian cuirassiers and photos of Egyptian armour from the period, some of which is in quite good condition and residing in the Abdeen Palace Museum in Cairo.

https://www.pinterest.com/worldantiques ... -of-egypt/
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Re: Photos of the Khedive's Palace Guard?

Postby Mark A. Reid » 06 May 2015 21:34

Thanks Jonathan.

Mark
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