Drummers 1838

A group from the Corps of Drums painted by Michael Angelo Hayes who lived and worked in Dublin. The 1st Battalion of the Scots Guards were stationed in Dublin at this time and the artist was able to observe the details of their uniform.

From the left, the bass drummer, the drum-major, a fife player and two side drummers. They are carrying knapsacks and rolled blankets which seem to be normal wear in full dress as the rest of the regiment are rarely seem without them in other paintings in the series. There are mess tins also strapped on the blankets, mostly in black canvas covers, but in the case of the fifer, a light coloured cover.

The bearskins are plain black fur without tassels and front badge. The other paintings in the series, some of which are also dated 1838, show the badge and the white tassels so it would seem that these items were discontinued in this year. The coats of the drummers and fifer are decorated with the Guards lace, white with blue fleur-de-lys. The sleeves have no tufted fringes under the lace chevrons as on the earlier coat but they still have the red cuff slash with three pewter buttons.

The fifer has a brass fife case attached to a blue and white cord that goes over his left shoulder. It is difficult to see if he has a white pouch on his belt like the seated drummer. The standing side-drummer has a drum carriage that is covered with two rows of the coat lace. Both these drummers have white knee aprons and all of them carry swords with black and brass scabbards. The white pouch is interesting as there are few back views of drummers of this period. There is a badge on the flap.

The drum-major has a coat that is more in line with the band uniform. It is laced with gold and has wings on the shoulders. There is an unusual addition in the form of a gold aiguilette hanging from his right shoulder. This uniform is very similar to Drum-Major 1852. The main difference being the staff that he holds has criss-crossed chains all the way up.

Regimental Band | Regimental details

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by Stephen Luscombe