Officer c1833


This well known print from Spooner's upright series (no. 24) was published c1833 during the reign of King William IV. He ordered that the army should dress in red. This was not well received by the light cavalry regiments who had been proud of the distinction of wearing dark blue, since 1784. The light dragoons had to change, but a compromise was reached in the hussar regiments whereby the jackets remained blue but the pelisses were changed to red. It was also stipulated that regular regiments all had to be gold laced, and so the 8th Hussars officers, silver laced since 1823, had to buy new gold laced uniforms, and the men had to be issued with yellow braided jackets and red pelisses.

Apart from the gold lace and red pelisse, the main changes in the uniform of the 1820s was the lower shako and the closer fitting dark blue trousers. The lace patterns remained the same as before, crooked bias and vellum for the sabretache and shabraque, and shamrock pattern for the pouch-belt. The sword scabbard is steel and slung from slim gold laced straps attached to the gold laced waist-belt. We cannot see his right arm which holds the sword, only the tip of the blade shows just above the fore-legs. His spurs are correctly shown as gilt. The red pelisse has black astrakan fur on the collar and cuffs. The red sleeve is bent at an angle which must have been inspired by observation, but other artists, like Simkin, depicting this uniform have copied the awkward shape to bad effect.



Uniforms | Regimental details




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by Stephen Luscombe