Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen, born 2nd April 1805 – author of The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
Andersen also wrote about the Danish independence battles of 1864. In 1864-66, Denmark lost Schleswig-Holstein to the Prussians under the reign of King Christian IX.
Andersen is mentioned in Tom Buk-Swienty ‘s 1864: The Forgotten War that Shaped Modern Europe, the book which inspired the Danish TV series 1864 on the 150th anniversary back in 2014.
A beautiful but pricy 54mm gloss version from Tradition of London
There is more background about this curious story here:
I have one Steadfast Tin Soldier in my collection – about 30-40mm high – from the Prince August casting mould https://shop.princeaugust.ie/pa111-the-brave-tin-soldier-mould/
There are many interesting illustrated copies of this story – Pinterest is a great source of such varied illustrations. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/amphibious-landings-toy-soldier-style/
And to wish Hans Christian Andersen a Happy Birthday, here is that earworm of a tune from the 1955 Danny Kaye film: https://youtu.be/KJzwC_8f6nA
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2 April 2021
3 thoughts on “Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday”
Good morning Mark,
A most enjoyable coffee read today as I look out on a frosty lawn in a chilly house. As the fire burned the faithful toy soldier so the frost will have burnt the new growth which has been coming out over the recent sunny days.
It is quite a tale , and indeed an odd one too. There are terrific illustrations out there ( as you say Pinterest is a fantastic resource) of the story and I recall my last school but one having a beautiful hardback version someone had donated.
As a wee boy I was transfixed watching Airfix 1/72 figures melt as l put them in the coal fire . I was fascinated by the half burned figures sometimes left as a pool with an arm etc when they fell out on to the hearth.
One of my earliest memories was of that other soldier themed story The Tinder Box being told to me by my father as I sat on the kitchen floor. I loved the story and asked for it to be told often, never had it in book form though I think.
As I work on figures over the weekend I will think of HCA and his birthday, especially his FTS!
I don’t think I ever deliberately melted an Airfix figure – far too precious! Ready realistic casualty markers for the Battlefield though.
However I do think of the Steadfast Tin Soldier when I put a failed casting figure back into the casting metal ladle and watch it disappear.
I always found this story (illustrations) interesting because of the toy soldier. However there is a odd, sad, dutiful, tragic / bittersweet end, what does it all mean! Something that many earthy folk tales and fairy tales once had, something that has often been bowdlerised / sweetened for child consumption.
I forgot to put in the Tradgardland travelogue film clip of “wonderful wonderful Trad-gard-Land-en” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eEwdroXuL8A
FYRTOJET – not a Tradgardland Air Force plane but stills from the The Tinder Box in the TFI Tradgardland Film Institute’s first animation, mid to late 1940s – https://www.dfi.dk/en/viden-om-film/filmdatabasen/film/fyrtojet-0