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Napoleon's Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment (Hardback)

The Cavalry

Colour Books Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Napoleonic Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic Photographic Books

By Paul L. Dawson
Frontline Books
Pages: 376
Illustrations: 100
ISBN: 9781526708960
Published: 5th August 2019



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Few military formations have attracted more attention than Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, and fewer still have been so extravagantly clothed and accoutred with the finest materials and the brightest colours. On both campaign and parade, the Guard, and especially the cavalry regiments, provided a dazzling display of military grandeur. From the green and gold trappings of the Chasseurs à Cheval, to the multi-coloured Mamelukes, the Guard cavalry was among the most brilliantly dressed formations ever to grace the field of battle.

In compiling this magnificent volume, the author has collected copies of almost all the surviving documents relating to the Guard, which includes a vast amount of material regarding the issuing of dress items, even in some instances down to company level.

This information is supported by around 100 contemporary prints, many of which have never been published before, as well as images of original items of equipment held in museums and private collections across the globe. In addition, the renown military artist, Keith Rocco has produced a series of unique paintings commissioned exclusively for this book.

This glorious book is, and will remain, unsurpassed as the standard work on the clothing and equipment of the Cavalry of the Imperial Guard, and will be eagerly sought by reenactors, wargamers and modellers, and will sit on the book shelves of historians and enthusiasts as one of the most important publications ever produced on this most famous of military formations.

I cannot recommend this book enough for it is fine distillation of the numerous archival paperwork that must have required careful and continued scholarly diligence from the author.

Read the full review here

Amazon, Wandering Merchant

I would say that this book is a must for the bookshelf of any Napoleonic uniform enthusiast. Someone said, “it is a dull read”, but it isn’t a reading book - it is simply the best reference book on the subject that you can get, bar none!

Stephen Ede-Borrett, Pike and Shot Society, September 2020

Reviewed alongside Napoleon's Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment: The Infantry

Dawson diligently researched the Guard’s uniforms and equipment in great depth. His deep dive included efforts to collect copies of as many surviving documents about the subject as possible. They include a mother lode of records detailing the issuing of dress items right down to the company level.

This topic is quite well-trod ground, and yet the team behind these must have books has succeeded in producing authoritative works on the Guard’s dress and gear. These books should be invaluable not only to people involved in our hobby, but also historians, reenactors and wargamers.

Toy Soldier & Model Figure magazine issue 247 – reviewed by Stuart A. Hessney

This is my second book of Napoleon's Imperial Guard, the Cavalry though this is the first book from Pen & Sword I am leaning to this book being much more informative than my previous book on the same subject. The book itself is very professionally researched and written and has plenty of pictures giving you a true perspective of not only the costume, the colours but also the equipment, for figure painters, war gamers and modellers interested in the Napoleonic wars then this is a must book. Some may find it perhaps a bit heavy going but I found that the historical parts like the section on the mamelukes fascinating and had me diving into google among other search sites researching more and more of this extraordinary period. Would I wholeheartedly recommend this book? Then yes I would especially to those that are interested in the Napoleonic period.

Read the full review here


If you are seeking a detailed appraisal of IG uniforms and equipment, this is one extensive collection of color uniforms and inventory.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

If impressive was the first volume dedicated to the Infantry, then impressive is also dedicated to cavalry. Masterpiece again with special place in the library.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

For the Napoleonic era historian, re-enactors, modellers and wargamers painting their armies, this is a reference which I don't think can be beaten. The cavalry were amongst the most colourful uniforms of the time, and with the added size of being mounted on horseback, certainly the most impressive. I think if you have an interest in the uniforms and equipment of the Napoleonic wars then this deserves a place on your reference bookshelf.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

Both this book and the one dedicated to the Infantry of the Imperial Guard cannot be missing in the library of every fan of Napoleonic uniforms and history. The period that saw the gaudy and characteristic uniforms par excellence, the Napoleonic Wars, could not be better represented than by these two books, and this thanks to the research and passion of Paul L. Dawson.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

This is the second volume of a series, covering Napoleon’s elite troops. The uniforms and equipment of the Imperial Guard Cavalry Regiments is beautifully illustrated with images in the form of coloured drawings and photographs of museum exhibits – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


As featured by

The Armourer, November 2019

The blurb says that this is a "glorious book" and that is exactly what it is. A treasure trove of information and illustrations covering Napoleon's Imperial Guard. Specialist but brilliant.

Books Monthly

Featured 'ON THE BOOK SHELF' by Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, August 2019

From a British perspective Napoleon was made famous by the Battle of Waterloo in
1815. However, the British had been at war with Napoleon for many years prior to this
famous Battle.

Napoleon’s Imperial Guard were his elite soldiers and they were in two main branches
– the infantry and the cavalry. Their uniforms were exquisite and complex – a subject
which these books deal with. Most period records lack colour and clarity and we have
only paintings and the limited surviving artefacts to base any modern-day study upon.

These two wonderful Volumes should really be read in conjunction as they deal with
the main branches of the Imperial Guard. They cover the dress, weapons and
accruements and together they are a most impressive study. These excellent tomes fill
a huge gap in the available literature on the subject and you cannot be unimpressed by
their superb quality.

They are a sought-after addition to the available literature and the author has done a
splendid job by writing these two outstanding volumes. They undoubtedly are the
reference books to have on this subject and there is little I can add to the fact that for
uniform and equipment buffs they are essential reading.

Military Archive Research, Dr Stuart C Blank

As with the previous Infantry volume, this is a chunky, beautifully printed book, featuring lots of photos of garments and other accoutrements, contemporary or near contemporary artworks, and a small middle section of original paintings by Keith Rocco. The level of detail is quite something.

A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer

Like its partner volume on the Guard Infantry this book brings the same detail and insight to the Guard Cavalry. Fabulous photographs and illustrations and an absolute joy to read.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Paul L. Dawson

Paul L. Dawson BSc Hons MA MIFA FINS, is a historian and author, specialising in the French Army of the Napoleonic War. In addition, as a noted equestrian, this allows him to have a greater understanding of what was and what was not possible for cavalry and other troops which utilised horses. Working as a historical tailor producing museum-quality replica clothing gives him a unique insight into construction techniques of the period, as well the knowledge and ability to decipher documents from the period.

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