Major, 1785

The officer in this portrait is Henry Richmond Gale who was an officer in the 20th Light Dragoons in their 2nd incarnation of 1779 to 1783. The painting was completed in 1785 when he was on half pay and aged 25. He was commissioned into the 7th Light Dragoons and transferred to the 20th as a captain in 1782. He was promoted to major in April 1783 and went on half pay when the 20th LD were disbanded later that year. The silver epaulettes were worn on both shoulders by field officers. Troop officers had only one on the right shoulder. The coat is red at this stage. The light dragoons adopted blue uniforms around 1784 so Major Gale is wearing an out-of-date uniform. The coat was normally open to reveal a white or buff waistcoat but he has buttoned it over which indicates that the buttons are on the right lapel only. It is a shame that Gale was not wearing the light dragoon helmet for the portrait. The artist was Gilbert Stuart, an American who came to Britain and settled here, being influenced by the works of Romney and Gainsborough.

Regimental Details | Uniforms


Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames |

by Stephen Luscombe