Officer in Campaign Dress 1811

This excellent portrait of Captain Peter Hawker by James Northcote is dated 1812 but shows the captain in his old uniform. By 1812 the plainer blue jacket with wide orange lapels had replaced this decorative and impressive garment. The collar and cuff is clearly displayed so that we can see the design of the silver Russia braid and the blue inner edge. It generally agrees with the Hawkes Pattern Book.' The collar is large, not just high, but extending far down onto the chest to avoid restriction of head movement.' It is hard to see how such an expensive item could be worn for the kind of campaigning that the regiment experienced in Spain and Portugal. The grey trousers with orange stripes were worn in undress so the painter is giving the impression that Captain Hawker is pausing in the middle of a battle. The scene in the background is probably intended to be the battle of Talavera where Hawker was badly wounded, so that he was unable to carry on with active soldiering.' His horse bridle is rather sketchily painted but the bit with it's gilt bit-boss can be seen. Unfortunately there is no sign of his light dragoon helmet which would have been similar to the one worn by Colonel Samuel Hawker in Officer c1803.

The picture of Peter Hawker was featured in the Journal for Army Historical Research and written up by Percy Sumner.' He says that an inspection report of May 1812 mentions that the officers were still wearing the old jacket while the men were wearing the new pattern.' The portrait of Colonel Hervey-Bathurst shows the same type of jacket worn with a pelisse over the shoulders which is of blue cloth with black braiding.

Regimental Details | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe