Wednesday 14 March 2012

Lieutenant-General Marquis Antonio Giorgio Clerici

The commander of my Austrian Army's front line is Lieutenant-General Marquis Antonio Giorgio Clerici and he is assisted by Colonel von Langlois of IR30 Prié-Turinetti, with blue facings.

Clerici has been a difficult man to track down but I have found this out. He was a member of a grand Milanese aristocratic family and was also Baron of Sozzago, Marquis of Cavanego and a Knight of the Golden fleece. He is described as “...of great intelligence and generosity” and one can hardly disagree with the latter term as he inherited a fortune and left very little to his surviving daughter. He was apparently devoted to his military career becoming a Major General of Artillery in 1746 and Lieutenant General in 1755. He was wounded during the early SYW campaigns against Frederick II in 1756 and, consequently, he laid down his arms to embark on a diplomatic career. He was also a connoisseur of art as he commissioned Tiepolo to paint the frescos depicting "The Fight of the Sun in the Olympus" of the very large ceiling (about 119 square meters) in the residential palace of the Clerici family in Milan. During his “intense existence”, Antonio Giorgio dissipated the wealth he had inherited. He died in 1768. The Palace in Milan became the seat of the law-courts and today it belongs to the Italian state while the Villa Simonetta is a music school. Claudia Bigli Clerici, Antonio Giorgio's daughter, was the last of the Clericis to possess the Villa Carlotta on lake Como. And that fine thought takes me to memories of holidays as a child on lake Como with the paternal Italian side of my family.

The figures are 40mm Trident AWI British officers and have been heavily converted, particularly the horses where I had to add pistol covers on both. The figures on the horses are both the same figure. Clerici, on the left, has a new head, and Langlois, on the right, has kept his head but has a new right arm. The sharp-eyed amongst you will note that the finished 'Clerici' head is different from the top picture and this was because I did not like the first head I gave him so I decapitated him and gave him a new Front Rank head. I think perhaps, living in France as I do, the practice of decapitating aristocrats, which was once a national past time, must have rubbed off on me. In terms of compatibility with S&S horses, Trident's are huge in comparison and for that reason will have to be limited to mounted officers.

Lastly I have shown the only known portrait of our hero and this was kindly supplied by Villa Carlotta.

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