Officer 1813

This portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel George Wyndham by Beechey shows the uniform of the 20th Light Dragoons very clearly. It is unusual in a portrait to see the jacket with the lapel buttoned over so that the plastron front is covered. This would have been the custom on active service but rare for a portrait in which the sitter would usually be wearing full dress (see miniature of Colonel Hawker). The jacket is part of the new uniform introduced in 1812 to replaced the braided dolman. The 20th Light Dragoons had worn blue uniforms with yellow facings and silver lace up until 1809 when they changed to orange facings and gold lace. The orange and gold continued to be used on the new style blue jacket and this portrait is very useful because the shade of orange used by the regiment was not clear from the written authorisation. John and Boris Mollo, writing about the painting in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research vol XXXVII no.152 in 1959, say, 'The collar and cuffs appear at first sight to be red, but...on examination the facings in the painting appear to be much browner than the normal military red, the colour must be intended to be that rather dubious orange which was also worn by the 14th Light Dragoons.' The epaulettes are gold and, although it is difficult to see at this angle, should have a silver embroidered crown badge on them to signify his rank as lieutenant-colonel. The rank of field officers was shown on uniform from Feb 1810, but Troop officers did not have rank badges until 1855. The miniature portrait of Colonel Hawker shows a crown and star. Majors had a star only. The pouch-belt is gold laced, not herring-bone as in later light dragoon pouch-belts but with the lace pattern following the same diagonal each side. The central stripe and the edges are in the facing colour. The side of the silver fronted pouch can just be seen under his right arm. The fittings on the belt are silver. Around his waist is the new pattern light dragoon girdle with crimson and gold stripes.

Regimental Details | Uniforms


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by Stephen Luscombe