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Richard Simkin (1850-1926) - 17th Lancers and 3rd Hussars British calvary
  • Richard Simkin (1850-1926) - 17th Lancers and 3rd Hussars British calvary

    These well-executed portrait drawings of calvary regiments in the British Army are by the renowned military artist, Richard Simkin. They both depict military uniforms from c.1890. Simkin was always as accurate as he could be for his military drawings and did his research if he was painting uniforms from before the 19th century.


    The first drawing on the left illustrates a Major from the 17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers. Originally this regiment was known as the 17th Light Dragoons until eventually in 1822 it converted into lancers. It received the title of 17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers in 1876 not long before this drawing by Simkin. 'Officers had gold cord on their shoulders and gold lace on their dress trousers. The lance-caps were made smaller with appropriate front-plate regimental plume, white in the case of the 17th. The black sheepskin with the white edging was to be seen after the shabracque and the sabretache had disappeared. The officers' full dress just before the First World War now had a flowing white feather plume, the plastron on the tunic as introduced in 1876, the breeches and knee-boots that had been in wear since 1872.' [1]


    The second drawing on the right illustrates a Major from the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars. The regiment gained this name in 1861 when all Light Dragoons were discounted. 'The parentheses were deleted from the title in 1920. In 1958 amalgamation with the 7th Queen's Own Hussars brough the present title of the Queen's Own Hussars. [In 1861] the 3rd [took] on the six loops of gold or yellow cord on the front and [retained] the red collar. With so many regiments of hussars now in the British Army, thirteen at this date, distinctions were needed, and the colour of the busby-bags and the plume provided the answer. The black sable busby had a bag of garter blue and the plume was all-white, distinctions which remained until full dress was discontinued. The officer's cut feather plume was an elegant extension to his busby, which also had gold cords and tracing, whereas the trooper had a hair plume and yellow cords.' [2]


    Medium: watercolour with white bodycolour on paper, two separate works separated in mount, each measures 12.5 x 7.8 cm, framed.


    Provenance: The Parker Gallery (2 Albermarle Street, London).


    Condition report: in very good overall condition. The frame has a couple of scuff marks and a few small chips. 




    [1] W. Y. Carman, 'Richard Simkin's Uniforms of the British Army: The Calvary Regiments', Webb & Bower: Exeter, 1982, p.180.


    [2] Ibid., pp. 92-93.

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