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Army Christmas card celebrates 200 years at north London home

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery commissioned an unusual picture for its Christmas card this year, to commemorate its 200 years in St John’s Wood, north London, the home it must leave in a few weeks’ time.

Photographer Julian Calder recreated the 1882 painting by GB Giles, showing the barracks where the regiment has been based since 1810.

The photo is taken in the same stables as those depicted in the painting – with modern-day soldiers and horses recreating the composition.

The painting now hangs in the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly.

Mr Calder said: “It was a lucky shot – normally you would expect a picture of this sort to be a composite, but this was one shot.

“The trooper by the horse with the blaze [on the right of the stables] gave it a nudge and it turned at the same moment as the horse on the left.

“It may not seem a very Christmassy card, but it means a great deal to the Troop, as they are leaving St John’s Wood soon.”

The lease expires on the St John’s Wood barracks in March and the Troop’s 120 horses and 168 soldiers and officers will move to modern, carbon-neutral barracks in Woolwich in February – where hot water and heating will be powered by pellets created from the muckheap.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (5 January 2012)

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