An Officer of Marines, c. 1796 and an Officer of the Royal Marines, Full Dress, c. 1805

£7.50

Uniforms of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars I

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I. An Officer of Marines c.1796: The first troops raised for sea service from which the Royal Marines descend, was authorised by an Order in Council dated October 16, 1664. Soon it was succeeded by other ‘maritime’ regiments, the custom being to raise new ones on the outbreak of a war, and to disband them immediately it ended because Parliament was suspicious of them retaining a standing army without its consent. In 1755, fifty companies of marines were raised and divided into three divisions, namely Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth. In 1761, the marines distinguished themselves at the storming of Belle Île, for which action they are said to have been awarded the laurel wreath. At the time of the American Revolution the marines were about 10,000 strong, but on its conclusion, they were again reduced. On the outbreak of the war with France in 1793 they were rapidly augmented, so that by 1801 they had reached a strength of some 24,000 men. During this period the marines took part in all the major sea-battles and most of the actions under taken by the Navy ashore. II. An Officer of the Royal Marines, Full Dress, c. 1805: Largely because of Lord St Vincent’s efforts to obtain some recognition of their loyalty during the naval mutinies of 1797, the marines were made a ‘Royal’ corps by an Admiralty Order dated April 29th, 1802. As was the usual practice with royal regiments, their facings were changed from white to blue, and the metal appointments of the officers, together with their lace, from silver to gold. There are two portraits in the possession of the Royal Marines, one of Henry Rea, and the other of Anthony Kinsman. The belt-plate and gorget shown in the plate are based on these paintings.

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Dimensions38 × 25.5 cm