Regimental Sergeant-Major 1855

This painting by John Ferneley Junior was painted a year after his depiction of Lt-Col Cavendish Bentinck, and the uniform changes of 1855 had come into effect. The coatee has been replaced by the long-skirted tunic, single-breasted and with shoulder straps in the facing colour but edged with lace, gold for the RSM, yellow for the lower ranks. The same applied to a lace loop that was sewn on either side of the black velvet collar, but in 1857 this was removed. The back skirts of the tunic had gold lace rectangular button loops, 3 on each side, and the black cuff had one button loop, hidden by white gauntlets.

The brass gilt helmet introduced in 1847 continued to be worn but the dress regulations had brought in regimental distinctions so that the 7th Dragoon Guards were to have the new black and white horsehair plume. However, the sergeant-major, and the figures in the background, still have the black plume. The officers had to give up the wearing of their expensive sabretaches and pouches and take on a plain black leather sabretache and silver pouch. The RSM also has a sabretache, but it is not clear which ranks were allowed this privilege. Privates had ceased to wear them in 1834. There is a medal on his chest that is hard to identify. The men who had served in South Africa in the 7th Kaffir War of 1846 were entitled to a campaign medal with a yellow and black striped ribbon, but this is not it.

Regiment | Uniforms


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by Stephen Luscombe