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Richard Simkin (1850-1926) - 1st Life Guards British Calvary Regiment
  • Richard Simkin (1850-1926) - 1st Life Guards British Calvary Regiment

    This well-executed drawing of an officer in the 1st Life Guards of the British Army was painted by the renowned military artist, Richard Simkin. Simkin was always as accurate as he could be for his military drawings and there are similar examples in Carman's useful book on the artist's works with plate 3e showing an officer wearing a near identical outfit c.1914. [1]


    'When Richard Simkin painted [his] water-colours there were two regiments of Life Guards, the origins of which were complicated. When Charles II was in exile in the Low Countries before his restoration gentlemen of his court formed a troop of Horse Guards - mounted on horses as opposed to foot guards. His brother the Duke of York at the same time had his own troop of Horse Guards, and these two troops accompanied the King on his return to England in 1660. General Monck, who was responsible for the restoration of the monarchy, had his own troop which on his death was taken into royal service, the three now being named the King's, the Queen's and the Duke of York's Troop respectively. A fourth troop, the Scottish one, raised in 1661, was taken on to the British establishment, but in 1746 these troops were reduced to two. In 1788 two troops of the Horse Guards and two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards were disbanded and in their place were created the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. As such they existed up to 1922 when they amalgamated and became the Life Guards, as they are known today.' [2]


    Medium: watercolour on paper, signed l.r. 'R SIMKIN', 23.8 x 20.4 cm, framed.


    Condition report: in very good overall condition. Small amounts of time staining and foxing around the edge of the watercolour. Simkin clearly originally meant for this work to have an oval frame as the outline for an oval border is obvious when viewed closely.




    [1] W. Y. Carman, 'Richard Simkin's Uniforms of the British Army: The Calvary Regiments', Webb & Bower: Exeter, 1982, p.19.


    [2] Ibid., p17.

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