The March to Finchley

This famous Hogarth painting was completed in 1750 and depicts men of the Guards very vividly. In the background the columns can be seen marching off to guard the northern approaches to London. The foreground scene is set at the Tottenham Court turnpike from where the Guards are setting off to their marshalling camp at Finchley.

The soldiers look as if they are debauched drunks except for the grenadier in the middle who is being harangued by a pregnant girl selling Hanoverian prints and an old Catholic scold brandishing a Jacobite pamphlet. The soldiers's coat is buttoned up and the skirts pinned back. His mitre cap is blue with the crown and star badge and the Hanoverian white horse on a blue flap (this flap was changed to red in 1749).

A large sergeant of a battalion company hovers behind him with his halberd and a soldier takes liberties with a milkmaid. On the left of the picture are a drunk drummer and a boy fifer in their highly decorated coats and mitre caps. On the right, a pioneer in a red cap tries to pour water into a drunk battalion man who is reaching for a proper drink. His unfastened white gaiters show what was worn underneath; grey stockings and breeches with five buttons at the knee. Both these figures have pouches with the Georgian cypher in brass on the flap.

Regimental details


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by Stephen Luscombe