17th light dragoons

1820 Officer with Charger

This is one of a series of prints by William Heath, a popular military print artist of the 1820s. I doubt whether he traveled to India to see how the army dressed. But he would have been familiar with the tailors' instructions.
A year after George, Prince of Wales became Prince Regent, new uniforms were introduced for the army which were radically different from what had gone before. In the case of light dragoons, the braided coat was replaced by a jacket of bark blue with collar, cuffs and plastron in the facing colour. It was waist length with a short tail at the back and epaullettes, silver in the case of the 17th. The head-dress was replaced by a shako which at first had an upright red and white plume but later developed into a falling plume (horse-hair for men and feather for officers). The 17th, being so far away in India did not start wearing these new uniforms until about 1814. There was no concession to the hot weather except for a white cover for the shako. In full dress, white breeches and black leather hussar boots were worn, but grey overalls were the normal leg wear. The officer depicted here is in full dress, but by 1820 the boots and breeches had disappeared, to be replaced by light blue 'cossacks' and ankle boots.
When the 17th returned to England in 1823, they adopted their new lancer dress.

Uniforms | Regimental details


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