General's uniform.

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General's uniform.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 12 Jan 2018 18:03

I understand that this is a little early for the forum's remit, so it may have no place here but just in case, could anyone help me inform a friend as to the uniform of a British General c1820-1825?

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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 13 Jan 2018 15:34

The following links show good images of that period Josh:

1. Pearson - https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/lie ... kch-181489

2. Smith- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Har ... _Smith.jpg
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 13 Jan 2018 19:54

Many thanks, Frogsmile. Can I just clarify something my enquierer brought up [edit: in my mind]. That is regarding the rank of 'Full General'. These pictures are of Lt. Generals, which is what I initially equated with the question, but it gives me pause to ask if the rank of 'Full General' was in existence or common in the early 19th century?

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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 14 Jan 2018 10:38

Josh&Historyland wrote:Many thanks, Frogsmile. Can I just clarify something my enquierer brought up. That is regarding the rank of 'Full General'. These pictures are of Lt. Generals, which is what I initially equated with the question, but it gives me pause to ask if the rank of 'Full General' was in existence or common in the early 19th century?

Josh.


Yes Josh, even before the creation of the ‘Standing Army’ in 1660, the general ranks were largely similar to today. Actual badges of rank for these general officers were first decreed in 1767, with the ranks descending from Field Marshal to Brigadier General, the latter being unsubstantive and temporary. The reason Major General is junior to Lieutenant General is because the full title of the former was Sergeant Major General. Brigadier, a French word, was originally a rank junior to Sergeant Major.
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 14 Jan 2018 18:02

Do you happen to know what differentiated a full General from a Lt. General in terms of uniform?
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 14 Jan 2018 18:19

Josh&Historyland wrote:Do you happen to know what differentiated a full General from a Lt. General in terms of uniform?


Until 1831 the differentiation was via s-shaped gold lace configured in chevrons on the lower sleeve. For a full general there were four chevron configurations on each sleeve evenly spaced (total eight). For a lieutenant general there were six chevron configurations on each sleeve positioned in pairs of three (total twelve). In review order heavy gold lace, fringed epaulettes were worn, and for levees silk knee stockings, fine white breeches and buckled shoes were worn as nether garments.

I enclose images of a Lieutenant General's uniform.

N.B. Early in 1831 the combinations of crowns, wreaths, batons, and swords (along with varyingly spaced buttons) so well known now were introduced. It was not until 1855 that rank badges for both, regimental and general officers were regulated in such a way as to be standard across the different arms of the Service.
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 16 Jan 2018 13:01

And here is a Major General's uniform. Sleeve chevrons and front lacing in pairs.
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 16 Jan 2018 13:23

And a full General, notice how the lace lines and chevrons have no gaps and are evenly spaced and continuous.
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby t100 » 16 Jan 2018 14:05

Jut as an aside, I would note that this pattern of lace, adapted to fit the tunic, survived through our period and indeed to the present on the uniform of the Master of the Horse.

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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 16 Jan 2018 15:23

t100 wrote:Jut as an aside, I would note that this pattern of lace, adapted to fit the tunic, survived through our period and indeed to the present on the uniform of the Master of the Horse.

T


That’s interesting T, I wasn’t aware of that. It’s amazing how many arcane vestiges there still are of once commonplace embellishments and idiosyncrasies of uniform.
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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 16 Jan 2018 17:31

Excellent images, not much changed from what you see in Napoleonic times at all. Might I ask why the description of the chevrons was 'S-shaped'? These seem like quite regular v's to me.

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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Josh&Historyland » 16 Jan 2018 19:51

My correspondee has some questions regarding the photographs of the Lt and Full General's uniforms pictured at the bottom of the thread.



'1) What is the date of the Lt Gen and full General's uniforms (in the stupendously, wonderfully, stupidly beautiful shiny photos on the thread)?

2) Why does the General's uniform not have blue going all the way round the back of the collar? (The only thing I can think of is "so hair powder doesn't stain it", but I don't think they were using powder by the 1820s, were they?)

3) Do we know whose uniforms those were?'

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Re: General's uniform.

Postby Frogsmile » 17 Jan 2018 13:16

Josh&Historyland wrote:My correspondee has some questions regarding the photographs of the Lt and Full General's uniforms pictured at the bottom of the thread.



'1) What is the date of the Lt Gen and full General's uniforms (in the stupendously, wonderfully, stupidly beautiful shiny photos on the thread)?

2) Why does the General's uniform not have blue going all the way round the back of the collar? (The only thing I can think of is "so hair powder doesn't stain it", but I don't think they were using powder by the 1820s, were they?)

3) Do we know whose uniforms those were?'

Josh.



1. The Lt Gen Uniform dates from 1815, when the officer concerned was promoted to that rank. He wore it presumably until the pattern changed, in 1831. The Maj Gen uniform dates to 1814. The full General uniform dates to 1825-28. This latter coatee is recorded as being of the pattern laid down in Horse Guards General Orders of 18th June, 1st July and 27th December 1811 for wear by lieutenant-generals in 'full dress' and 'dress'; it was worn until the pattern's supercession in Horse Guards General Orders of 23rd December 1828 and 20th January 1829. The officer concerned was promoted lieutenant-general on 4th June 1811 and promoted general on 27th May 1825. He would have worn this coatee in 'full dress review order' and 'dress' between those dates.

2. For a long time it was common for British officers collars to be plain at the back. In part this was because of the original fashion (when the coatee was introduced) for wearing hair clubbed, or with a dressed wig over, but it was also for the equally practical reason of expense, in that the gold lace adornment on a dark blue wool cloth backing would only be seen from the front. The hand sewing was different then and a feature of this is the rounded shoulders that were then oversewn to overlap the top corners of the body, or trunk of the garment.

3. Yes I do know who the Lt Gen and Gen were (although not the Maj Gen), but feel that I have answered all the practical questions to meet your friend's original query about dress.

N.B. The lace is generally known as s-shaped because if you turn it vertically in your mind's eye it takes the form of a chain link of cursive script 'esses'.
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