Grenadier, Coldstream Guards, 1775


Coldstream Guards, the oldest regiment in the British Army,  part of The Guards Division

description below

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The Coldstream Guards is part of the Guards Division, Foot Guards of the British Army. It is the oldest regiment and one of two regiments of the Household Division that can trace its lineage to the New Model Army, the parliamentary army that fought against Charles Stuart (Charles II).  It was formed at Coldstream in 1650 by General George Monck. Here is a typical grenadier of the period. The mitre has been replaced by a fur cap, the grenadier cap, originally a fur-trimmed cap. The fur trimming was replaced by the stiff front, but in the 1768 warrant the fur cap returned. Some regiments never wore the mitre. The grenadiers of the Black Watch wore a fur cap like the one shown here. This fur cap gradually evolved into the bearskin worn by the Foot Guards today. Here is the arrangement of buttons in pairs – an arrangement adopted by many regiments when the 1768 warrant was introduced, but all gave it up in 1857 when the tunic replaced the coatee, except the Coldstream Guards, who retained it until comparatively recently. The army white spatterdashes had been generally changed to black – the Clothing Warrant specified black. But the Foot Guards retained white ones and used them until after 1821 for ceremonial dress. With the war in America at this time and the formation of light companies, the use of grenadier companies ceased, and the Grenadiers became ornamental. The fur caps were rarely worn on service but kept for ceremony. This grenadier has his hair tied in a plait at the back and not in a queue – generally a distinction of grenadiers.

Sources: An existing coat and a series of contemporary watercolours of the Foot Guards.

Additional information

Dimensions 24 × 37.5 cm