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Officer, 21st Foot, 1751 by P H Smitherman


Officer, 21st Foot, 1751 by P H Smitherman

This image, in which the details are taken from a portrait, shows an officer of the regiment in undress uniform, such as he might have worn in barracks not on duty or on social occasions. As the eighteenth century progressed the wearing of uniform became more popular with officers, and in the many conversation pieces of family groups then painted we often see one or more members of a family wearing uniform, indicating that it was worn at home and away from the regiment - rather a contrast to the custom of previous years. Moreover, probably for this reason the cut and design of the officers coats became more elegant during the second half of the century. The 21st Foot, later the Royal Scots Fusiliers, were raised in 1678, the first fusilier regiment in the army. As firearms gradually replaced the pike as the main infantry weapon it was an obvious development to raise regiments equipped completely with firearms, and several fusilier regiments were raised at this time. They were equipped with fusils, a light, more efficient and more expensive form of the flintlock used by musketeers of other regiments. They were regarded as picked regiments and had the same privileges of dress as grenadiers, that is to say they wore mitre caps and their coats were more elaborately laced than the rest. Moreover, with one exception, they shared the privilege of the Six Old Corps in wearing their own regimental badge on their mitre caps instead of the royal cipher. This officer, therefore, on duty would wear a mitre cap and carry a fusil, would doubtless have the skirts of his coat turned back, would carry a cartouche box, and would have a ring bayonet in a frog above his sword. We have pictorial evidence, however, that grenadier officers, and possibly therefore fusilier officers, did sometimes go into battle dressed much as this officer is, always, of course, armed with his fusil. On their mitre caps the regiment displayed a device incorporating the cross of Saint Andrew and the thistle, indicating their Scottish origin. They did not assume Scottish dress until 1881.
Item Code : PHS0012Officer, 21st Foot, 1751 by P H Smitherman - This Edition
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PRINT One available.

Image size 14 inches x 10 inches (36cm x 25cm)none£24.00

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