Officer, 1669


I Infantry Uniforms of the British Army 1660-1790

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THIS PLATE shows an officer wearing the first tropical dress worn in the British army and is based on drawings made in 1669 in Tangier, where a garrison was maintained for some years. It appears to be made of some light, natural linen or cotton, and is cut loosely, as tropical dress is to-day. The coat, which follows generally the cut of a coat then worn at home has short sleeves decorated with ribbons, allowing the full-cut shirt sleeves to be seen. It is worn open – it has no buttons. The usual heavy crimson sash round the waist is replaced by a light cord, and the large, broad-brimmed hat by a smaller, lighter version. The full-bottomed wig was retained. The knot of ribbon on the right shoulder seems to be a forerunner of the epaulette or knot of cords worn by officers on the right shoulder fifty years later. This early ‘shirt-sleeve order’ was not particularly suitable for hot weather but was no doubt acceptable in an age when men were generally more heavily clothed than today.

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Dimensions24 × 37.5 cm