Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I am currently doing some resaerch on a painting (1827) of George Jones RA (6 January 1786 – 19 September 1869). He was a British painter and Keeper of the Royal Academy, most famous for his paintings of military subjects incl. Waterloo.

 

The scene shown here is just a smal section of a larger painting depticting a smal German city on the Rhine.

 

My interpretation is that it shows a young couple on the rigth side and the wife’s mother as well as a priest on the left.

 

The groom seems to wear a red jacket with a black collar and golden embroidery as well as an unknown headgear.

 

Is this a British uniform and if so which one?

 

Any help would be highly appreviated.

IMG_0356.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if this will be helpful, but it looks like the soldier in the painting is wearing a gorget around his neck which means that he's an officer (or maybe my eyes are deceiving me.)  His hat looks like a not-very-accurately drawn field bonnet worn by the Royal Sappers & Miners.  The uniform ensemble does, in fact, resemble the sappers and miners working dress (not their regular uniforms) from around the year 1825.  I am puzzled  by the absence of buttons and shoulder straps on the tunic of the man on your painting.  (Maybe the artist just overlooked including these details.)  Perhaps you could use this information as a springboard for further research.  Simi.

Sappers & Miners 1825.jpg

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you.

The painter actually was a soldier himself so he should have had the necessary knowledge.

Since none of our British experts reacted I wonder whether it is a uniform at all?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think it's a uniform because I believe the man is wearing a British officer's gorget around his neck.  I looked up George Jones and found a picture of him as an older man.  Do you think it's possible that Mr. Jones included himself in the painting?  I am seeing an uncanny resemblance between Jones and the figure in the painting.  Simi. 

 

George Jones RA.jpg

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites

The nose - the chin (!) - the eye sockets - you could be right.

 

Jones bore a strong resemblance to Wellington and was sometimes mistaken for him.

 

Would any of the experts be so kind as to enlighten us with respect to the uniform?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I was looking at an auction catalog today and noticed this picture of what is called a "Mess Jacket" for a British infantry officer.  The question is, did any branches or units of the British Army wear mess jackets that looked like this in 1827?  Simi.     

British Officer's Mess Jacket.jpg

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites

The mess jacket you show, Simius, was an evolution of the stable jacket, which - as the name suggests - was an undress jacket worn when working in the stables.

However, I think it is a red herring in this particular case. As the OP states, the figure is from a small detail and I would suggest that the ‘absence’ Of buttons etc is simply down to the small scale the artist is working in, here.

As an aside, I agree with you that the figure is wearing a gorget and would add that the black area round his neck is a representation of the black silk stock officers of the time wore and which you can sort of see in the interesting image of the working dress of Royal Sappers and Miners you posted. I suspect that this ‘working dress’ was more generally the undress worn by officers of the period, which would have been worn rather than Full Dress for 'walking out'  - as shown in the OP's picture.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you kindly for chiming-in on this topic, Trooper-D, and for clarifying what an undress jacket or "mess jacket" is. 

I was struggling to recognize what the black fabric around the subject's neck is, but you successfully identified it as a "Black silk stock"  (which I assume is like a neckerchief) that officers of this period wore.  I'd never heard of this fashion accessory before but in my opinion, it's further evidence - in addition to the officer's gorget and the undress jacket - that the person in the painting is wearing a British officer's uniform.

The only remaining question is, what kind of hat is the officer wearing?  Is it a poorly drawn Sappers & Miners Bonnet, or is it more like British Bengal Light Cavalry or Light Infantry visor hat from the period around 1820 - 1840?  If it's the latter, what other British units may have worn such a hat?  

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Simius Rex said:

I was struggling to recognize what the black fabric around the subject's neck is, but you successfully identified it as a "Black silk stock"  (which I assume is like a neckerchief) that officers of this period wore. 

Officers were lucky. As this site explains, for ordinary soldiers, "[a] three and a half inch (8cm) leather stock was worn around the neck to preserve a 'soldierly' aspect, which was rarely allowed to be discarded even on campaign." 

These two images, to be found on many Pinterest pages, are said to be of a 5cm high example in the The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh.

2020-07-16_11-57-45.jpg.0a17a474a31423d12d789aa7c3916765.jpg

2020-07-16_12-16-28.jpg.ca0083b4011bc0c3600f3bebe6323d81.jpg

It was, apparently, also worn by the US Marine Corps and gave rise to their nickname of 'Leathernecks' (or so says Wikipedia!).

 

Edited by Trooper_D
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to both of you for your support!

Could these "Studies of Waterloo" by Jones show both the uniform and the headgear?

2008_CSK_05444_0240_000.jpg

2008_CSK_05444_0240_000a.jpg

3.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Trooper_D said:

Officers were lucky. As this site explains, for ordinary soldiers, "[a] three and a half inch (8cm) leather stock was worn around the neck to preserve a 'soldierly' aspect, which was rarely allowed to be discarded even on campaign." 

I wore one of these pretty regularly while doing Napoleonic era living history.  Always a big hit with the crowds. 

I once made one in a real hurry for a fellow  unit member who'd lost his.  The only leather I had to hand was 'sole bend' - 3 to 4 cm thick.  Damn near killed the poor fellow the first time he wore it!  Opps!

stock.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the painting "Studies of Waterloo" we see what looks like an injured British soldier being assisted by either a soldier from Hannover or a soldier from the Prussian Landwehr.  This German soldier is wearing a "Crusher" style cap that is similar to the one that the soldier in the subject painting is wearing. 

As far as I know, the British Army didn't have "Crushers" as part of its assortment of standard headgear in 1815.  In the 1820s, officers of units like the British Bengal Light Cavalry and Light Infantry began wearing "Crushers". 

Maybe Jones was trying to depict something other than a "Crusher" such as a Bonnet, for instance.  Other than Sappers and Highlanders, who else was wearing a Bonnet back then?      

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, peter monahan said:

I once made one in a real hurry for a fellow  unit member who'd lost his.  The only leather I had to hand was 'sole bend' - 3 to 4 cm thick.  Damn near killed the poor fellow the first time he wore it!  Opps!

A few years ago, when browsing old editions of the (London)Times online, I was astonished to read a letter in an edition from the 1850s (I seem to recall) from a recently-retired officer decrying that soldiers were still expected to wear the leather stock and noting that - never mind the difficulties of fighting whilst wearing it - he had observed men fainting on parade because of the restriction to their blood supply caused by it. Your friend was having a completely historically authentic moment, it seems. It must have made him proud - once he came round :) 

Edited by Trooper_D
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Saxcob... I was a curious about the cap your man in the painting is wearing, but it seems you won't be getting any answers anytime soon.  Most of the Brits in the forum seem more focussed on military artifacts of the Central Powers than much of anything else. 

Anyway, the discussion has turned to a leather BDSM accessory used by the British army that was worn around the neck to preserve a "soldierly aspect" which I found quite interesting. I can't wait to hear what the British used to preserve a "soldierly posture" but I suspect it might involve a straight rod and surgical lubricant... although, that' sounds a bit extreme. 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind and just assume that the British colleagues just do not know either.

Thus I am even more grateful to you for having indentified the soldier as a self portrait of the painter.

This is now confirmed by an other example (see below).

Since I was unfortunate enough to have read your last post pre edit, I sincerely hope that you will not have second thoughts about having helped a Central European who just happens to live in Belgium ;-).

 

1aa.png

A.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's known as a forage cap - or camp hat, tent cap etc. Essentially a peakless soft bonnet worn in undress uniform as opposed to shakos or helmets. Typically worn around camp for training, it was also worn on campaign in lieu of standard regimental head dress - particularly if such had been destroyed or lost. They lasted into the late Victorian era before being supplanted by Kilmarnocks, glengarries, Atholls and Balmorals, but one could say they survived beyond that as Tams and the GS caps of WW2 - which are not that much removed from caubeens and berets.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Tony Farrell said:

It's known as a forage cap - or camp hat, tent cap etc. Essentially a peakless soft bonnet worn in undress uniform as opposed to shakos or helmets. 

👍

 

 

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎02‎/‎07‎/‎2020 at 23:33, Simius Rex said:

I looked up George Jones and found a picture of him as an older man.  Do you think it's possible that Mr. Jones included himself in the painting?  I am seeing an uncanny resemblance between Jones and the figure in the painting.  Simi. 

 

On ‎22‎/‎07‎/‎2020 at 16:47, Tony Farrell said:

It's known as a forage cap - or camp hat, tent cap etc. Essentially a peakless soft bonnet worn in undress uniform as opposed to shakos or helmets. Typically worn around camp for training, it was also worn on campaign in lieu of standard regimental head dress - particularly if such had been destroyed or lost. They lasted into the late Victorian era before being supplanted by Kilmarnocks, glengarries, Atholls and Balmorals, but one could say they survived beyond that as Tams and the GS caps of WW2 - which are not that much removed from caubeens and berets.

Thanks to both of you! Your invaluable help is much appreciated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to do what little I could, but you never explained the reason behind researching this particular painting.  What is its significance, and what was a British officer doing in a German town by the Rhine?  Simi.

p.s. My entire family comes from Central Europe.  I am the first generation of my family born in the USA, and that was only because of the war.  At one point, 8 members of my family were on the western front, the eastern front, and southern front shooting at Allied soldiers. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The painting shows a scene in the town where I used to live. The building in the middle was demolished in 1959.

Jones was part of the army of occupation in Paris after the battle of Waterloo. A decade later, in 1825 he took a trip down the river rhine where he made the scetches for this painting which was exhibited in London in 1827.

Thanks to you we now know that the soldier is nobody else than Jones himself. He obviously leads a local lady to a coach.

Since Jones married much later and someone of his own nationality we may proceed from the assumption that this was all the result of his imagination.

 

IMG_0425.jpg

1.jpg

Edited by saxcob
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, saxcob said:

The painting shows a scene in the town where I used to live. The building in the middle was demolished in 1959.

 

Why on earth would someone want to demolish such a splendid building?? Fortunately, the tower still stands, Google tells me.

May I ask where the Jones picture is exhibited, please? I ask because he painted another version of it which can be seen below, and which is exhibited in Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

NOT_NCMG_1882_85-001.jpg

Source: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/andernach-prussia-47436#

You will note that he didn't feel the need to portray himself in this version, for some reason.

Edited by Trooper_D
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Well spotted, Dr Watson!

I agree, this was really a crime. The beautiful mid 17th century building needed to go in order to give way for a malt factory which was itself demolished recently.

The smell of it still haunts me today.

In the local newspaper I found some reports on the before/after situation.

The painting is exhibited in my living room ;-).

Jones did in fact produce two versions. The one you show was painted by him in 1863 almost 40 years later.

IMG_0480.jpg

IMG_0481.jpg

1.jpg

Edited by saxcob
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hanging in your living room??? Where do you live... Laken Palace?

I personally would not dismiss the idea that the artist Jones included himself in that scene with the young woman, her mother and a priest in order to capture a momentous event.  Artists do that kind of thing, you know. 

I can easily imagine Jones developing a love-interest in the young lady.  We see her scowling mother intervene with the support of the priest.  Mutti is saying, "Don't get involved with this Englishman.  They're all scoundrels and even worse... protestants."  I see uncertainty on Jones' face (on the brink of heartbreak) and ambivilence on the young woman's face.  Note that Jones is holding the young woman's left arm and mother is holding her right hand, as if the two are engaged in an emotional tug-of-war. This scene could represent the moment at which the young woman decides to submit to her mother's wishes and not get into the carriage with Jones.

Just a thought...           

Edited by Simius Rex
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Simi, it is (just) a Jones and (unfortunately) not by his friend Turner.

Until now I thought that mom is just giving her daughter some good advise on how to behave in England. However, you might be right ad she is in fact trying to hold her back. At least there is some sort of urgency: the coachman is already leaving the house while a boy is promptig the couple to get on the coach.

As Trooper_D rightly pointed out, the 15th century tower still stands - but only just.

French troops tried to blow it up in 1689 only to produce a hole of the size of a smal car.

IMG_0413.jpg

IMG_0414.jpg

x.jpg

Edited by saxcob
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Blog Comments

    • I've never smoked a single cigarette in my 62 years so I can't compare, but I can say that I like Lapsang Souchong tea, having tasted it the first time when I was 16, and a sea cadet. I'm not a Brit, though.
    • Lapsang Souchong, when i first tasted this I thought it was like stale cigarette ends...it's an acquired taste for sure.  
    • I like my tea strong enough for my spoon to stand up in. My father got me into it. When my father was at RAF Dum Dum 1943-47 most of his fellow officers drank ice cold drinks to mitigate  the heat, his Sikh batman warned him against it and said that strong hot tea would cool him down, most certainly did. So years later in the UK when everybody else was drinking iced drinks on a baking day the wood family was inbibing copious quantities of hot strong brews of Assam's finest. P
    • Hi ccj, Thanks for your comments. Funny how, for me at least, coffee has become a habit more than a conscience choice. It's the old, "Well if you having one (coffee) pour me as well". When I get together with my son-in-law, a former Brit, it's tea all the way. Thanks again. Regards Brian  
    • I live and grew up in the south (USA) and the drink of choice 7 days a week was cold sweet tea. I was unaware Lipton was British because that’s what most southern use for brewing tea. When I joined the army I learned most people in the north and western parts of the USA drank unsweetened tea and that was perplexing to my young brain. Now days I can’t stand sweet iced tea but it’s still the most common drink in the south, but, you can get unsweetened ice tea in the south. Im familiar with ho
×
×
  • Create New...