Much of the exotic dress of the armies of Europe and elsewhere has its origins in the conditions of frontier wars fought by imperial armies. As states have expanded to control hinterlands occupied by culturally diverse peoples, the ensuing conflicts have had an impact on imperial armies and the way they have dressed. ‘Hinterland warriors’ have been employed by imperial governments for a multitude of reasons: they understand the tactics of enemies at the border and are skilled tacticians themselves; they possess local knowledge; they do not disrupt the labor supply; politicians do not have to answer for high casualty rates if these are suffered by hinterland rather than metropolitan troops; finally, they are often classed as ‘martial races’ and therefore do not require the training needed by fresh recruits.
Throughout time, imperial officers and auxiliaries adopted the dress of these hinterland troops under their command, and even metropolitan units in the imperial armies appropriated items of local dress while engaged in wars on the borders of the empire. These innovations frequently became institutionalized, and in many cases were distorted and stylized, resulting in a caricature of the dress of the hinterland troops that originally provided the model. This book charts how the perceptions of these marginalized peoples influenced and ultimately transformed the history of military dress.
As a concept, the idea of product branding offers insights into the history of uniform in Britain. The creation of a brand, by which a product is understood and recognised by its name, fits the cultural history of the red coat, that part of his uniform by which the British infantryman was known for over three hundred years.
While the earliest references to the redcoat in this context occur in the sixteenth century, it is really from the eighteenth century onwards that the term becomes widely employed to denote the soldier. However, a review of royal portraiture in Britain from the late seventeenth century onwards also reveals that monarchs used the red coat as a way of uniting the ideals of patriotism with the monarch — a device that was particularly important for the Hanoverian dynasty.
Both literature and the visual arts helped identify the red coat as a synonym for the soldier. Numerous references may be adduced, from Jane Austen writing of polite society, to Rudyard Kipling’s Tommy. Lady Elizabeth Butler was perhaps the most famous artist to depict red-coated heroes in battles, which marked the defence or development of the Empire.
Numerous small iron plates excavated from the outer gateway were badly oxidized but x-radiography revealed their outlines and main features. They came from a jack of plate (common soldiers’ armor worn during the 15th and 16th centuries, consisting of a canvas jacket with small overlapping iron or horn plates fixed inside between layers of fabric by trellis-pattern stitching) Most of the plates were recycled from earlier protective garments such as brigandines, and plates were commonly cut from old armor. Wire hooks from the assemblage were probably fastenings for the jack. There is full discussion of parallels, artistic representations of the type, etc., and the reason for the deposit in the gateway (single garment or rubbish pile?). A mid-late 16th century date is proposed for the jack.
The writer situates Pompeo Batoni’s 1765-66 portrait ‘The Honourable Colonel William Gordon’ within the context of debates about 18th-century Scotland and Scots cultural and national identity. He examines the flamboyant pose in the painting; the martial and imperialist connotations of the conjunction between the colonel and a statue of Roma; and Gordon’s unusual attire, which combines English military dress with the belted plaid associated with the Jacobite rebellion. He discusses the portrait as a complex visualization of the ambiguity felt by many privileged Scots about the union with England. He considers the portrait within Enlightenment debates about Scotland as a ‘primitive’ land and as a center of intellectual and cultural achievement.
Reports on the work undertaken to conserve a 16th-century gun-shield at the Victoria & Albert Museum for the museum’s British Galleries (1500-1900). The aim of the report is to demonstrate the value of collaborative research across disciplines. The authors emphasize the significance of textile or organic elements on pieces of arms or armor. They highlight the importance of considering how the organic elements of arms and armor are studied, recorded, and preserved. Notwithstanding the fragility and limited life span of these organic elements compared to the metal elements, they can supply much information about the armor they are a part of. The case history of the V&A gun-shield is an illustration of how textiles can contribute to information in the study of armor. The report presents the following phases of the research and treatment: preliminary investigation of the gun-shield; technical investigation and research of other surviving gun-shields, especially in terms of their general construction; textiles and paint schemes; conservation and treatment of the V&A gun-shield; conclusions and questions.
This book examines not only naval dress but also male fashion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The development of naval uniform is considered within social, economic, and historical contexts. Includes a catalogue of colour photographs of uniform from the collection of the National Maritime Museum.
Description of certain military contracts obtained in the 1690s, by an Edinburgh merchant, to supply uniforms to various Scottish companies.