Colonel 1869

The inscription in the top left-hand corner of this painting reads: Colonel Hon Somerset J G Calthorpe -1869- [indistinct] 5th Dragoon Guards 1861-69. This officer was commanding officer of the regiment in that period and went on to be Colonel from 1892 to 1912 with the rank of Lieutenant-General. The uniform he wears here in this 1869 portrait is that of a full colonel in the 5th DG. The tunic is scarlet with dark green velvet collar, cuffs and edging down the front. At the back of the skirts there were two slashes edged with gold cord and having three buttons on each side. The shoulders had twisted gold cords fastened with a small gilt button. The collar is almost completely covered by two rows of gold lace and has the rank badges of a star and crown for colonel. Lt-cols had a crown and majors had a star. Captains and subalterns had only the top edge of the collar covered with three quarter inch gold lace; captains had a crown and star, lieutenants a crown, and cornets a star. The cuffs are decorated by a triple Austrian knot worn by field officers, major and above. In 1864 this replaced the previous gold lace chevron that was sewn on the velvet cuff.

The medals include the 5th Class of the Imperial Order of the Medjidie, his Crimean medals, and the French Legion of Honour. The gold laced pouchbelt and waistbelt are worn and he holds his gilt brass helmet with white and red horsehair plume. He has white leather gauntlet gloves and his sword has a knot which is of white leather with a gold olivet. The cloak that is draped over his shoulders may be the regimental great-coat and cape mentioned in Dress Regulations which is blue lined with white shallon.

The 5th Class of the Imperial Order of the Medjidie was awarded to him by Sultan Abdülmecid I in September 1857. The London Evening Standard of Saturday 12th September of that year carried a long list of the medal's recipients, which included the "Hon. Somerset J. G. Calthorpe, 8th Dragoons". The medal's crescent and star can clearly be seen in the painting. (with additional thanks to Kieran Owens)

Regiment | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe