Price

£2200.00

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Hero of Aliwal - Portrait Miniature of Brevet Major Fyler, 16th Lancers, 1849.

Overall: 23cm (9in) x 20cm (8in).

Watercolour on ivory (Ivory Act compliant - Ref BVCY8RW1). Half length portrait of Brevet-Major Lawrence Fyler looking left and wearing the 1832 pattern double breasted regimental coatee of the 16th Lancers decorated with the Ghuznee Medal (1839), Maharajpore Star (1843) and Sutlej Medal (1845-46); the collar of gold lace, bullion wire epaulettes, gold lace pouch belt with silver fittings, cap lines, and showing a round blue right cuff with narrow upright red flap and five buttons. Inscribed verso in ink ‘Major Genl. / L Fyler C.B.' Contained in its original gilt wood frame with oval slip. Oval: 10.5cm (4.2in) x 8.5cm (3.8in). 

On 28 January 1846 at the Battle of Aliwal during the First Sikh War (1845-46), Captain Lawrence Fyler was in command of the left flank second squadron of the 16th Lancers, popularly known as the Scarlet Lancers for their red jackets. A sudden shift in the tide of battle dictated an urgent headlong charge into a crack Sikh infantry corps. This was the Avitabile Regiment composed of several battalions of Sikhs trained in European tactics by the  Italian mercenary General Paolo Avitabile (1791-1850). As Fyler charged into an infantry square formed of bristling with bayonets, he was struck by a musket ball and severely wounded. Nevertheless his squadron crashed into the Sikhs, broke the square and overran three guns in their rear. News of Fyler’s charge duly filtered back to London and became known to the public through several popular lithographs including one titled with Fyler’s letter of commendation. 

Major-General Lawrence Fyler (1809-1878) was born in Twickenham, Middlesex and purchased a cornetcy in the 16th (The Queen’s) Lancers in 1826. The regiment which was titled for Queen Caroline, was then serving in India whence it had been banished by George IV as a sign of his displeasure at anything to do with his estranged wife. The 16th were to remain in India for next 24 years and it was here that Fyler was to do much of his soldiering. 

Promoted Captain in 1834, he was deployed with his regiment in the Army of the Indus during the opening phase of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842) when it helped take by storm the fortress of Ghanzi, opening up the road to Kabul. In August, the British and Indian force entered the Afghan capital, installed Shah Shuja on the throne and went into camp. Fortunately for Fyler, the 16th Lancers were ordered back to India in October 1840. The disastrous and humiliating British retreat from Kabul took place two years later, giving the Mahrattas of Gwalior an opportunity to reclaim their independence. Consequently Fyler was deployed to the region. The 16th Lancers duly participated in the Battle of Maharajpore, advancing on the right flank with the horse artillery to soften up the Mahrattas prior to the British and Bengali infantry assault. The 16th Lancers were next engaged in First Sikh War (1845-46) at the Battles of Buddiwal and Aliwal where Fyler's charge is especially remembered, and for which he was promoted Major by brevet. 

Fyler went on to serve in the Punjab Campaign of 1848-49 with the 3rd Light Dragoons (medal). He served in the Crimea with the 12th Lancers from 17 May 1855 and was present at the Battle of Techernaya, and the siege and fall of Sebastopol (medal with clasp). He was further awarded a 5th class Order of the Mejidie and the Turkish Crimea medal. He retired in 1860 with the rank of Major-General and settled in Tunbridge Wells. He was married to Amelia Byng in Hampstead in 1836. His orders and medals were left to his nephew James Fyler, and were subsequently acquired by the Bostonian investment banker and medal collector Lester Watson in 1929 and bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

This object incorporates old ivory and has been registered with Defra

Price

£2200.00

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The BADA Standard

  • Since 1918, BADA has been the leading association for the antiques and fine art trade
  • Members are elected for their knowledge, integrity and quality of stock
  • Our clients are protected by BADA’s code of conduct
  • Our dealers’ membership is reviewed and renewed annually
  • Bada.org is a non-profit site: clients deal directly with members and they pay no hidden fees
Click here for more information on the BADA Standard