Commander, Full Dress and Lieutenant, Undress Uniform, 1787-1812


Uniforms of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars I

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I. Commander, Full Dress, 1795-1812: The new full-dress uniform for commanders was to be ‘the same as post captains, with a plain gold epaulette on the left shoulder’. The new undress uniform was to be ‘the same as post captains, with a plain gold epaulette, as in the full dress, to take off and put on occasionally’. The commander in the accompanying plate is wearing his hair in a queue, and he has a coat of the old style with the fronts sloping away as worn up to the end of the eighteenth century. He strikes one note of modernity, however, by wearing his laced cocked hat ‘fore and aft’. II. Lieutenant, Undress Uniform, 1787-1812: The style of hair shown in the accompanying plate, the cut of the coat, and the fact that the hat is being worn ‘fore and aft’, all indicate a date after 1800. The basic design of the uniforms for lieutenants, however, remained the same from their introduction in 1787. The details for this plate have been taken from the orders and tailors’ notes of Welch & Stalker, naval and military tailors, in 1787, and from a drawing by Henry Edridge of Lieutenant Francis Loch, dated 1806. In this drawing the sitter has short hair, the unofficial sword with the lion’s head pommel, and white trousers instead of breeches.

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Dimensions38 × 25.5 cm