Sergeants c1860

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this young officer of the 55th soon after the officer bought his captaincy to join the regiment on 24th Sept 1778. He is John Hayes St Leger. The uniform is that of an officer of the Grenadier Company, denoted by the gold epaulette on both shoulders and the grenade symbol on the gilt belt plate. The coat is scarlet with dark green facings. The green is so dark that it appears black. The lace and buttons are gold, the buttons being plain, without numbers as one would expect. The explanation for this could be that St Leger joined the regiment in England while they were in America and had the uniform made up by his tailor who may not have had access to the regimental pattern buttons.

The lapels seem to cut off abruptly below the level of the crimson sash. The buttons are in pairs, with a single button either side of the turned-down collar. We have to assume that the sitter has dressed himself correctly although he seems to have forgotten to tuck the pull tabs into the top of his boots. There is no headgear visible in the portrait but it would be an upright black fur cap with a metal plate at the front.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe