There's no time like the present so, since I live near the British Library, I enquired last Friday at the Asian and Africa Studies Reading Room regarding R.H.Sankey's watercolours. After a brief but intricate navigation of catalogues, the collection was located at IOR/E/4/852
The watercolour in question is listed as: WD 334
Sankey, Sir Richard Hieram (1829-1908); Types of 78th Highlanders and 90th Foot during the Mutiny, showing nonregulation uniform worn during a campaign
Inscribed on front in water-colour: ‘R.H.S. 1857’; in pencil: ‘78th Highlanders & 90th Foot in 1857.’
Water-colour; 17 by 11.5
(From BL Website)
So- now to the figures, which I was able to examine yesterday. As the above measurements show, this is a large piece. The painter uses a spare economical style, painting in watercolours on a grey cartridge paper. All the colours described, therefore, are solidly filled in, notably the white of the left hand figure described firstThe 78th man
is dressed in a remarkably crisp, bleached-white smock with voluminous sleeves, the cuffs of which have no band or other trimming. The shoulder strap on the right shoulder is fastened with a single button which seems either to be shiny black material or white metal. It is hard to tell from the highlighting. There are also three similar buttons showing at the fastened neck opening of the smock which I would say, judging from the spacing, if they continued up to the throat, come to five in total but the soldier's beard conceals this detail.
There are no accoutrements depicted, although the smock is cinched in at the waist as if by a belt.
The 'helmet' cover is of an equally white material fastened at a vertical fly-front opening at the front with three buttons visible above the puggaree, which is of a similar shade of white. Again it is hard to ascertain the material from which the buttons are made. There is no clear sense of a helmet or any other structure under the cover, although the shape at the top does suggest the ventilator of an 'air-pipe' or Ellwood-model sun helmet.
The trousers are of a slate blue-grey; the shoes of brown leather.The 90th man
wears a roomy, smock-like top of drab brown. Again the sleeves are voluminous. It has facings of orangy-red on shoulder straps, collar and the narrow cuff-bands. The one visible button on the right shoulder-strap appears to be white metal. There is no obvious fastening down the front but there is the suggestion of an opening running down from the throat to about mid-chest although, as indicated, with no buttons in evidence. The skirts are full, pleated by gathering at the waist by a sketchily depicted belt (see below).
The trousers are in shadow and really only suggested with shading in paint of the same tone as the smock but I don't think this can be taken to represent the actual colour of the trousers worn by this man.
The soldier's forage cap has a cover of light blue cloth with a peak in a darker shade of blue which might be taken to represent black leather. The neck curtain has either been cut down or pinned up so that it only shades the back of the head down to the nape of the neck.
Some sort of broad white belt is shown worn over the soldier's right shoulder (passing under the shoulder strap. It does not appear to represent the belt of a cartouche case, being on the wrong side and, as depicted, of too irregular cut and too soft a material, resembling a sash as much as a belt. This might possibly be simply a question of painting style. A broad, white waist belt is similarly depicted.
That's about it. Over to you gentlemen. I hope this is of interest, It seems, that closely examined, the figures throw up as many questions as they answer from our foregoing discussion. There are certainly a couple of things I wasn't expecting. If any thing isn't clear, perhaps I can dig out my paintbox and post a coloured-in photocopy from Barthorp, if copyright allows.
I ordered up a couple of other Sankey watercolours while I was at it, one of which I have made notes of, although I see it is accessible on line in a low-resolution format. This is catalogued as:
Courtyard of the Slaughter House, Cawnpore (U.P.), during the Mutiny. A soldier is writing on the wall 'Countrymen Revenge'
I can post my notes for the three figures in that painting too if they are of interest. They are much more generic.
Here is the link to all of Sankey's paintings kept at the BLhttp://www.bl.uk/catalogues/indiaoffice ... &Value=676