Anon. 1845 equestrian portrait of Louis in stable dress.
The most competently executed and un-idealised portrait,
from a b/w photo in the collection of the
Museum of the 15th/19th
Hussars, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, reproduced in Mark
Adkin, The Charge.
Current location unknown.
This gives the most naturalistic impression of Louis's
joli laid appearance: the long, sharp razor-blade of
a nose, high cheekbones, prim mouth, dark curls, and air
of hauteur. It's notable that while the horse and
Louis's body are in full profile, his face is turned
slightly towards the viewer. This is, I think, as much about
softening his harsh profile as about the importance of
eye-contact in portraiture.
Watercolour, signed '15 H', 'SE'(or possibly some kind
of monogram with a backwards 'R' and 'E'?), and bears 2
dates, one '185[0?]', the other '16/7/60'. (Have the
colours been retouched in 1860 - watercolours are prone to
fade - or is it a copy of a lost, better-quality original?)
Collection of the Light Dragoons, repro. by kind permission
of the Museum of the 15th/19th
Naïve in style, clearly the work of an amateur.
However, the sharp features and expression are recognisable
from the equestrian portrait, despite some
Engraved version of the watercolour, repro. Obituary,
The Illustrated London
News, 25 November 1854
It considerably prettifies his features (a family newspaper
presumably doesn't want to alarm the women and children!)
and omits much of the horse-furniture.
Strangely enough, I find the unprettified portraits
far more endearing!
Illustration by Henry Alken from
The Training of Cavalry Remount
Horses (1852): plate 7.
According to Moyse-Bartlett, Louis
Edward Nolan and His Influence on the British
Cavalry, Louis was the model for the
illustrations for his own book. They are not exact
portraits, but the rider's body-type is recognisable.
79-80 Queen Street,
(photo by Doc M):
79 Queen Street, Edinburgh (the left hand side of the block)
is where the Nolans lived c. 1819-20 on their return from
Canada. It's not known which floor their flat was on - I
sincerely hope it wasn't up too many flights of stairs, for
child-wrangling purposes: they had 4 boys aged 13, 9, 4 and
18 months-2, and Eliza was pregnant (Edmond, b. Jan.
Queen Street Gardens, opposite, was available to residents -
where the youngsters could be unleashed. I have visions of a
curly-haired infant, beak protruding from bonnet, toddling
about on leading reins... Mama pulling him back sharply:
"Don't go charging off ahead like that, Louis! You'll
get into trouble one of these days!"
Memorial Plaque, Holy Trinity Church, Maidstone,
reproduced in Moyse-Bartlett's
Louis Edward Nolan and His
Influence on the British Cavalry.
A touching tribute from colleagues. Alas, it seems to
have been broken up and dumped in a skip when the church was
converted into flats in 1997. (Grrrr....!!!)
Thomas Jones Barker (1815-82),
The Death of Captain
Nolan, exhib. RA 1855, no. 1077, reproduced by
kind permission of the National
Gallery of Ireland.
The notion of artistic decorum restricted the explicit
depiction of wounds and suffering in 19C academic art - a
painterly 'Hays Code'. The result is a deeply dishonest
painting, sanitising a gruesome and gory scene so that it is
no more disturbing or offensive than a still-life... Louis
died screaming in agony, his chest badly mangled and burnt -
but you wouldn't know that from this picture!
As it's quite small (43 x 53.5 cms), in oil on board, I have
a suspicion Barker ( a pupil of Horace Vernet) churned it
out as a pot-boiler to cash in on a topical news story -
certainly the likeness seems based on the engraved version
of the watercolour portrait, as published in the press. He
also exhibited at the RA that year
An Incident in the Battle of
Balaclava, showing a horse standing beside its
dead master, and showed other scenes from the Charge in 1874
Please couldn't someone have sent the artist
into the front-line at Balaklava instead???
Sentimental Victorian painters are far more
expendable than interesting cavalry authors!