1758, Officer, Royal Artillery


1758, Officer, Royal Artillery: drawn from a portrait of Major General William Phillips (as a Lt Col in c 1764) by Francis Coates at the National Army Museum and other officers’ portraits, dress regulations and Regimental orders (a miniature of Major General Phillips by Richard Crosse also exists)

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During the first half of the eighteenth-century uniform became more elaborate. By 1758 it had evolved into this arrangement. Button-holes have been stylised into bars of gold lace on coat and waistcoat. Lapels are buttoned back to reveal the red facing underneath. The coat can be worn double-breasted with lapels buttoned across. The cuff is smaller, and the blue slash, originally intended to button over the cuff to keep it turned back, has become a highly ornamental panel. The pockets of the waistcoat are particularly elaborately embroidered, in a fashion common at the time both in military and naval uniforms and on civilian clothes. In fact, decorative as this dress might appear to us, it was almost austere in comparison with the clothes commonly worn by civilians at the time. It was doubtless felt that uniform had become too ornate, and perhaps too expensive, because in 1758, the Master General ordered that officers’ waistcoats were to be of plain scarlet cloth, without lace. As the century went on uniforms became less and less elaborate. This officer is wearing a gold aiguillette on his right shoulder, a device whose origin is obscure but which at this time denoted an officer. He is dressed as he would when off duty. On duty he would wear a crimson sash over his right shoulder, a gorget, and either white spatterdashes on his legs or riding boots. The gorget was a small metal plaque worn at the throat by officers on duty; it was the last vestige of armour and was discontinued at the end of the century. Sources: Portraits of Major General Philips and other officers, Dress Regulations, Regimental Orders.

Additional information

Weight 0.0125 kg
Dimensions 24 × 37 cm