Pater submitted a military subject to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture as his reception piece in 1728, but troop pictures, which date from his early years, represent only a fraction of his oeuvre. He often painted them in pairs (see also 56.55.2
) and they show, in addition to soldiers, camp followers, women, often with babies in arms, and small children. The soldiers, mostly of the lower ranks, are not uniformly dressed, but wear coats of various colors; they carry sabers, muskets, pikes, and ammunition bags. They are accompanied by victuallers with wagons of provisions. The figures are minutely painted in a tight, descriptive style. The mood is somber and the overall tone darker than usual for Pater. The rolling landscapes that make up the backgrounds are furnished with dilapidated houses, towers, walls, and fences set among filmy trees, all clearly imaginary.
[Katharine Baetjer 2010]