Field Marshal von Blücher - A Bronze Figure
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Height: 24.5cm (9.6in)
Bronze. Standing figure wearing Prussian double breasted kollet with two rows of buttons, raised on a mahogany plinth on four bronze ball feet. Height of figure excluding base: 22cm (8.5in).
The celebrated commander of the army of the Lower Rhine is best remembered for his timely arrival at the battle of Waterloo which, of course, helped to permanently turn the tide against Napoleon’s forces. Less well known is the bizarre announcement he made to the Duke of Wellington while in Paris in the months after Waterloo. Many years later Wellington told Lord Stanhope that Blucher had confided in him that at the age of seventy-two he was pregnant and carrying a baby elephant. Yet, what troubled Blucher most was that he had been impregnated by a French Grenadier!
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt (1742-1819) began his rumbustious military career in 1760 at sixteen as a Hussar in the Swedish Army. In 1760 he was captured in a skirmish with Prussian Hussars and was induced to change sides. He became an experienced light cavalry officer during the later battles of the Seven Years' War, but his exuberant nature led to clashes with his superiors over such escapades as the mock execution of a priest.
Passed over for promotion, Blücher responded with a opinionated letter of resignation, which in turn caused Frederick II of Prussia to declare “Der Rittmeister von Blücher kann sich zum Teufel scheren “ (Cavalry Captain von Blücher can go to the devil). Fifteen years later, the death of Frederick Blücher was allowed to rejoin his old regiment, the Red Hussars. In 1787 he took part in the expedition to the Netherlands, and, having received Prussia's highest military award, the Pour le Merite, he succeeded to the command of his regiment.
During the wars with republican and imperial France Blucher performed acts of personal bravery, such as repeatedly charging at the head of the Prussian cavalry at Auerstedt. He was taken prisoner on the Danish frontier but was soon exchanged for a French Marshal. Following the start of the 1813 War of Liberation he was placed in high command but the divergence of interests among his allies found in him a restless opponent. He defeated Marshal Macdonald at the Katzbach, Marshal Marmont at Mockern and led the way to the decisive defeat of Napoleon at Leipzig. In the winter of 1813-1814 he was instrumental in inducing the allied sovereigns to carry the war into France itself.
On reaching Paris the Generalfeldmaeschall fully intended on punishing the city severely for the sufferings of Prussia at the hands of the French armies, but the allied commanders intervened. The blowing up the Jena Bridge was, nevertheless, said to have been at his prompting. On June 3, 1814, he was made Prince of Wagstadt. Soon afterward he visited England where he was received enthusiastically everywhere he went with cries of ‘Blucher forever!’.