A silly post this one, but every so often I come across a miniature and think, “I’ve seen this before somewhere?” More often than not, it is because I have forgotten that I had bought it in the first place and have the joy of discovering it all over again, but sometimes there is that realisation that I have actually seen the very same sculpt on the printed page. I can’t explain it, but I love discovering the original inspiration for the sculptor’s art. I have had quite a spate of these recently and all from the same book, so thought I would share them here for fun. The title in question is Osprey Publishing’s ELITE 21 – The Zulus, written by Ian Knight and illustrated by the prolific Angus McBride. Mine is a well thumbed edition and an important reference for my Anglo-Zulu War collection. The first colour plate is titled, The Youth of Shaka and shows the young warrior about to head of to war, being bid farewell by his mother Nandi. It just so happens that you can get your very own Nandi in the 'Dixon Miniatures' pack Zulu Girls and Udibi Boys.
Miniatures from the same pack can be seen a little further on in the book, Plate H - Warriors Muster 1870s.
Finally miniatures from the ‘Copplestone Castings’ Ngoni Chiefs and Witchdoctors pack seen alongside an ‘Empress Miniatures’ Sangoma bear an uncanny likeness to those seen in plate J - An Impi is Doctored for War 1870s.
I have often wondered if I were ever in a position to commission a set of miniatures what they might be or where the inspiration might come from? From this Osprey title alone, one might be tempted by a group of Zulu warriors in full regalia dancing at The Court of Mpande (Plate I). I wonder though, if money were no object, whether I might find myself seduced by the work of Lady Butler. 'Studio Miniatures' already produce a miniature that is clearly inspired by her painting, the Remnants of an Army and which I have documented here, but what about a small vignette of her earlier works, Balaclava? Mr. Hicks if you are reading this, then count me in for a set! Any other suggestions?