Officer in Full dress c1825

This painting by an unknown artist is of Captain Francis McNamara and was given to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1944. The uniform depicted complies with the 1822 dress regulations in every detail. The jacket has five rows of buttons, the centre functional row were ball buttons while the decorative buttons were half-ball. There was also lace and braid decoration on the back of the jacket which followed the seams. The pelisse was also well covered with silver and slung from the left shoulder with a rather confusing arrangement of the necklines which were made of 'rich dead gold platting'.

Full dress was reserved for special evening occasions and appearances at court. The pantaloons were scarlet with a rich Austrian knot of silver lace on the front of each thigh and similar lacing and braiding down the outside seams. The patent leather Hessian boots had lace binding and tassels with silver spurs which presumably damaged a few chair legs.

The 8th Hussars have prided themselves on a rather slimmer pouch-belt than other regiments and this portrait shows Captain McNamara wearing the first slimline type. In fact the 1822 dress regulations stipulate that pouch-belts be one and a half inch wide with a scarlet edging. This compares with the two inch lace around the edge of the sabretache. Other regiments seemed to have belts that appear to be the same width as the lace on the sabretache. The 8th had crooked bias and vellum pattern for all their lace belts and sabretache edging but the pouch-belt later changed to the shamrock pattern that was to last for another hundred years or more. This portrait appears to show the shamrock pattern.

Uniforms | Regimental details


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by Stephen Luscombe