Officer, Light Company 1800


Watercolour in the Royal Collection by Robert Dighton. It is inscribed ‘An officer of the Foot Guards, taken from life at St James's' and 'Coldstreamers' added later by someone else. Because this is a caricature the shako which had been introduced at this time, is made to look faintly ridiculous, rammed hard onto the head. The first version was a stiff lacquered ‘stovepipe', later changed to felt in 1806. There is a bugle-horn gilt badge on the front and a tall green feather.

Normally, officers wore the cocked hat while the rank and file wore the shako but the officers of the Light Company chose the distinction of wearing the shako. The hair was tied up in a plait with this large black ribbon which is probably exaggerated. By this time, coats were worn buttoned to the waist with short tails behind. The lapels could be worn three ways, buttoned over, as here, buttoned but open at the top, or folded back to reveal a blue plastron fastened with hooks and eyes. There is a gilt Gorget at his throat. His buttons are in pairs forming two rows down the chest. The flank company wings on his shoulders are red and gold and should show a silver embroidered garter star badge and a silver embroidered bugle horn.

The sword is very curved and oddly shaped, but the curved sword was another distinction of the Light company officer. The crimson sash holds the swordbelt in place and The tassels look very full. Later it was changed to cords and tassels. The breeches are white kerseymere and the black boots have turnover tops.


Uniforms | Regimental Details




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by Stephen Luscombe