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Eddie

Coats and Colours at Cardiff Castle

Ok - this is not a Rifles topic but its good stuff! We have many "Redcoat" contributors and I know they will enjoy this.
A few of us were at an event at Cardiff Castle recently and the word soon got around amongst us that there were some excellent Napoleonic artifacts in the museum there - "Firing Line -the Museum of the Welsh Soldier". We were kindly allowed a private viewing by the Curator Rachel Silverson who even opened the display cases and allowed detailed photos to be taken by Rob and Anne Yuill. Here are just a few to wet your appetiite but you can see the whole lot here on the 68ths' superb facebook pages:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set....95457.196153690408691&type=1

If you want to use any of the images you must seek permission from the museum and from Rob - please respect this !

Colour Sergeant Chadwick's coat  69th Foot  - credit  - Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh, on display at Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier (Firing Line).








Extant Other Ranks coats are rare and I have never seen an SNCO's - note the fine threads of the shoulder tuft - look like linen strands - no double knitting wool!

Now this one had me really jumping up and down! Drummers coat Royal Carmarthen Militia  - credit -Collection of the National History Museum St Fagan's on loan to Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier (Firing Line).   WOW!




I have seen only one poor black and white photo of a reversed drummers coat - and that is in a private collection.







Note again the fine strands of the wing fringes - and the lace is as per the 1802 regs " considerably raised above the common lace" - it looks about 1/8" thick and you can't replicate that today.

And the collection houses two 69th Officers coats, a Belgic and a Royal Dragoon helmet  - and the US Colour the 41st captured at Fort Detroit War of 1812 !


Oh  - and what happened to the Kings' Colour of the poor 69th that they lost at Quatre Bras??


Wait for the next thrilling instalment !
Eddie

And so to continue.........

The 69th at Quatre Bras and the famous debacle of being caught in the act of reforming square by French cavalry  -  having been ordered into line just moments before.
The outstanding courage of Volunteer Clarke - a cadet from Sandhurst - cutting down three Cuirassiers and receiving 23 wounds before the Kings' Colour was wrenched from his grasp........

and as Mike Robinson so aptly describes it in his book "Quatre Bras" :

"Victorious,  the group of Cuirassiers rode off towards their own positions, doubtless arguing who had delivered the killer thrust, or whose hand had been on the staff. Quel exploit glorieux!  Cantering back down the Charleroi road with their prize, they paraded it before the cheering ranks of the French Infantry who were forming up for yet another attack ....."

And I thought that was that  - and I had an idea that I had read "somewhere" that the captured Allied Colours were later burnt ?

But no ! a curious story emerges :




Journal of the society of Army Historical Research Vol 9 No. 37


And there today - in the Firing Line Museum in Cardiff Castle - is the very same Kings Colour of the 69th  - worth visiting to see it for itself  - let alone the other cracking Napoleonic exhibits!  Regrettably Camera flash on the glass case prevented a current photo being taken - but here is the one from the JASHR article:





OK  - back to Rifle stuff!
John Waller

Thanks for posting Eddie. Nice to see the shoulder tufts detail. It is something that is often still woefully done on many otherwise OK coat reconstructions. I have been told that the strands are made simply by partially 'combing' out lengths of worsted tape with the un-combed end being sewn into the seam. On centre company coats at least.
Eddie

John Waller wrote:
Thanks for posting Eddie. Nice to see the shoulder tufts detail. It is something that is often still woefully done on many otherwise OK coat reconstructions. I have been told that the strands are made simply by partially 'combing' out lengths of worsted tape with the un-combed end being sewn into the seam. On centre company coats at least.


Thanks John  -  that method is worth trying but I have only ever found worsted lace at most 1" wide so to get the depth of fringing it would need combing out length ways  - so perhaps as you say that would work for centre coys  but for a full wing thats lots of 1"  bits side by side?
I have tried various ways myself with only moderate success  - as the single strands always seem to degenerate into fluff!! Perhaps a hard, long strand worsted wool would work  - if such a thing is still available.

Wing fringes I have yet to see well done - certainly in the UK - I think much of the problem is due to units having to work only from illustrations -that and trying to do the business with a ball of brilliant white acrylic chunky-knit wool that Granny had left over !

There are so few ORs Napoleonic period British coats about - and few of them have been photographed close up with digital cameras. This why I think the attached photos are paricularily valuable even though perhaps a Rifles forum is not the best place to display them!
OJM

Eddie wrote:
There are so few ORs Napoleonic period British coats about - and few of them have been photographed close up with digital cameras. This why I think the attached photos are paricularily valuable even though perhaps a Rifles forum is not the best place to display them!


Has there ever been any compilation, or attempt at it, of how many coats etc. that have been preserved and their whereabouts, for the British army of the Napoleonic era?

Considering the long history of reenactment in the UK, the general british passion for history, and the unique regimental culture (although in change now, you still have a load of regimental museums dotted around the country, several of which posess more items than national museums other places, which is fairly unique), I find it very strange that no attempt seems to have been made, AFAIK, of a "definitive" book on the preserved items of uniforms and equipment of the british army of the period, with good quality photos, and if possible combined with archival research, eyewitness descriptions and contemporary illustrations.

The Royal Navy has http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dressed-K...F8&qid=1347408375&sr=1-6, which although a tad on the costume/sociology side, is still a very good reference for details and material quality.

The french have, to name a few:
http://en.empirecostume.com/les-t...-napoleon-on-stock-c201-a1783.htm

and

http://en.empirecostume.com/napol...out-murat-uniforms-c201-a1785.htm

and the, now very hard to get "ENCYCLOPEDIE DES UNIFORMES NAPOLEONIENS 1800-1815" by Vincent Bourgeot and Alain Pigeard, which is the most systematic of the three.

Also, the prussians recently got this beauty;
http://militaria.at/Book.aspx?book=2587200&Language=en , which although slightly earlier and way out of my primary field, is worth the price just for the method, amount of items, quality of pictures and the detailed treatment of different cloth types etc.

Then there's also Rene Chartrands two volumes on the British and American armies of the war of 1812, which although very good, lack colour and detail photos and illustrations very much compared to the abovementioned.

(It might be superfluous to say, but I can highly recommend all of them!)

Considering the amount of research that has been done by some of the people on this board, on the side of other full time jobs, the interest which is evidently there, and the amount of UK authors publishing on uniforms/napoleonic matters, I would have thought that someone in the UK, in the last 20-30 years would have gotten the same idea as the above authors?

Or at least that I, by virtue of this single post, have now managed to plant a seed into someone on here? q12

regards

Ola
John Waller

OJM wrote:

Has there ever been any compilation, or attempt at it, of how many coats etc. that have been preserved and their whereabouts, for the British army of the Napoleonic era?


I wish! Nothing compared to the other volumes you list. Which is why I value the research shared on this site highly.

[/quote] the, now very hard to get "ENCYCLOPEDIE DES UNIFORMES NAPOLEONIENS 1800-1815" by Vincent Bourgeot and Alain Pigeard, which is the most systematic of the three. [/quote]

This would appear to be available free as a downloadable .pdf or in the flesh for $700 secondhand!
OJM

'On Military Matters' sell it new for 600$. http://onmilitarymatters.com/pages/catalog.php?period=1050

I noticed that it was heavily distributed for download when I was searching for it, but didn't want to mention/link this, since illegal downloads tend to knock the whole basis for doing such nichè works (as long as they have a fair chance of being reprinted).
simon shephard

Very interested in these images.  They have certainly got me thinking about the lampshade fringes I have on my shoulders as a imitation grenadier.  I do have a couple of questions which I would like to ask before I start ripping them apart.

1: Would a grenadier's wings be the same shape as the drummers wing?.  They look like a D shape with the straight across the upper arm and the arch around the shoulder/arm join.  Someone tried to explain this to me last year, but I could not get it, but seeing it now it makes sense as the what they said.

2:  I have had a look at the worsted wool/tape and had a go myself with some neutral coloured tape I have knocking around (used it for my kids haversacks).  The neutral colour seems to be the same as the lace on the jacket, so is this right?  The other option seems to be white, but the modern white tape is brilliant white which just looks to be wrong.  

I have tried to do a bit myself with about a 5" bit of tape which I have teased out both ends to about 1-1 1/2" and then folded over.  It makes it quite dense and looks a bit like the section from the drummers fringe and I can then sew into the edge shoulder wing so it hangs down.  To be honest with a wire brush and a craft knife it did not take too long to do the 1" width, but I need about 30" to do both fringe.  I will post a picture of my experiment and see what you think.
John Waller

simon shephard wrote:
Very interested in these images.  They have certainly got me thinking about the lampshade fringes I have on my shoulders as a imitation grenadier.  I do have a couple of questions which I would like to ask before I start ripping them apart.

1: Would a grenadier's wings be the same shape as the drummers wing?.  They look like a D shape with the straight across the upper arm and the arch around the shoulder/arm join.  Someone tried to explain this to me last year, but I could not get it, but seeing it now it makes sense as the what they said.

2:  I have had a look at the worsted wool/tape and had a go myself with some neutral coloured tape I have knocking around (used it for my kids haversacks).  The neutral colour seems to be the same as the lace on the jacket, so is this right?  The other option seems to be white, but the modern white tape is brilliant white which just looks to be wrong.  

I have tried to do a bit myself with about a 5" bit of tape which I have teased out both ends to about 1-1 1/2" and then folded over.  It makes it quite dense and looks a bit like the section from the drummers fringe and I can then sew into the edge shoulder wing so it hangs down.  To be honest with a wire brush and a craft knife it did not take too long to do the 1" width, but I need about 30" to do both fringe.  I will post a picture of my experiment and see what you think.


Simon,
           Talk to Adi we were having this very conversation last night in the pub. He has a pattern for the wings and will advise on the lace & fringe.

Cheers

John
Eddie

Simon and John
I would be very interested to see the results of your method of fringemaking so I will look you out at an event next season !
I would have thought you would need a worsted lace about 2" wide to do what I think you are describing? Not sure you need a wire brush on it though - the strands in the images above look distinct and separate - not sure how that was achieved.

The method I use is described here:

http://www.diceyhome.free-online.co.uk/KatePages/Costuming/Phil'sjackets/redcoats_are_coming.htm

As to shape and lacing of wings see Stepplers study on extant O R s coats part 2 pages 13 and 18 - noting that L I wings are laced "all round":

http://www.fusiliersinspain.com/research/articles/Redcoat%2002.pdf

Another method of making fringes was described to me as using an oblong of thin wire - say 1.5 mm  - slightly longer than the width of the fringe and wrapping the wool around to several times end to end but leaving the very ends clear - then sew one side to a backing - cut through the loops other side and withdraw the wire frame - sort of pom-pom style but elongated. Not tried it but it sounds workable - again the problem is getting a thin worsted wool.
John Waller

Eddie, I suspect the fringing was made in a similar way to the material used for making plumes (or more properly 'tufts'). The strands are woven into a tape header in a similar way to modern trimmings you might find in your local haberdashers. For a cap tuft the tape is wound round a wooden or wire core. Andrew Clarke has posted previously on this subject.
Apparently something akin to this is still made by the makers of bell ropes to produce the fluffy bit the ringer pulls on. I did research some bell rope manufactures but never got around to making enquiries.

Cheers

John
Neibelungen

The fringing on that style (69th) would be normal  fringe.   Loops on a tape header  made  on a short board  on a loom with the tape heading being inserted  by the  usual  loom weaving  process.   The ends would be cut afterwards to  form  individual  strands.  
By using two  sets  of different colour strands you can  get the alternating  band.

Bell sally/ plume tuft tends to  give the heaver rounded  type ends seen on some coats and  later crimean style wings.
Pvt._McNamara

Ok, it´s a rifle green forum, but I may add something to the discussion about fringes (of red coats). I admit, our gren. unit still have the knitting wool fringes. I always wondered how the real thing was made. Thanks to the discussion I will try out something as well.
I like to share some close ups of the right wing of a KGL colour sgt. of the 7th Btl. (Lt. coy.), located in Celle, Germany (inv.nr.262)


http://i25.photobucket.com/albums...ctment/S1000093sm_zps2ec9c1d7.jpg

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums...ctment/S1000094sm_zps7ada797d.jpg

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums...ctment/S1000095sm_zps8a476a80.jpg

cheers

Robert
simon shephard

Great close ups.  The only versions of that I could find were some in the Osprey Hanovarian book, which John pointed me towards.  However the caption in that has it as a possible light company privates jacket.  

I submit my first humble attempt at a wing. I knocked it up this week before these nice close up became available Smilie_PDT
Looking at the close ups here it looks like I may need more density.  However I do quite like the density on mine  and how it sits as it does seem to match some original'ish drawings (undated unfortunately) I have got in various British uniform books at home  (mostly Osprey types at the moment)

Please bear in mind this is a bit of spare red cloth not attached my jacket yet, as I wanted to see what the shape and density looked like first.

Here's the tape, the middle length has been teased with a wire brush, but it makes it go fluffy, so I just used a craft knife to break the cross threads and pulled them out by hand.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc200/m39mjt/reenacting/jacket3.jpg

I stuck the tops together with tape, so there are 4 layers of tape in each section, and sewed along the length to keep them together and stop fraying more.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc200/m39mjt/reenacting/jacket4.jpg

Now the "wing" folded around a bit of toy roughly the same diameter as my shoulder.
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc200/m39mjt/reenacting/jacket5.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc200/m39mjt/reenacting/jacket6.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc200/m39mjt/reenacting/jacket7.jpg
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc200/m39mjt/reenacting/jacket8.jpg

It is interesting to see on those jackets that they have the stuffed wing rather than the flatter sticky out type also described (84th jacket?).  It also shows something clearly that John pointed out to me, that the shoulder strap also has a tuft on the end before the wing starts.  Now I appreciate that these are not British grenadier wings, but do show some of the characteristics described in Steepler's study linked above, and with a lack of original winged jackets, apart from a bucket load of contradictory pictures, it does give a nice starting point.  I note that Steeplers study said that wings and wing edges were something added by the regimental tailors to the regimental Colonel's design within certain boundaries, with some stuffed wings and some flat wings.  Given the vagaries of the Colonels fashion sense we may well have had a situation of fringed flat, fringed stuffed, sausaged fringed flat or sausage fringed stuffed wings, fun eh!

Simon
Eddie

Robert
Thanks as always for any KGL Bomann collection photos - it is so good to see that level of detail on period kit - like Simon I had only seen the photos in the Hanoverian Osprey book.
Each thin strand of the wing tufts shows clear - though again to me they look more like linen strands than wool as they don't "fuzz" up as you would expect that wool would - again I suppose they are made of a hard long strand worsted.

Simon
You seem to have found a very credible way of making wing tufts - and although the originals may well have been purpose made on a loom - your photos show a practical means of replicating the same sort of thing.
I would comment that the lace/tape you use looks very white - is it cotton?
The best stuff would probably be a worsted natural wool tape/lace  - but this seems difficult to obtain unless bought in quantity from Wyedean and thats expensive !

You mention some that the shoulder straps sometimes ended in a tuft before the wing itself joins on? I have seen that elsewhere  - I wonder if the man was previously in a battalion company before he moved to a Flank company and merely had the wing tacked onto to existing jacket leaving the strap tuft in situ?
simon shephard

Eddie, its the camera.  The colour is "natural", so more beige than white.  It is the same colour as the lace on my redcoat...off white.  It is 100% natural coloured (I am assuming that means it's not coloured) herringbone cotton tape available from lots of fabric stores.  It is then teased to get the individual strands out, a time consuming and messy process Smilie_PDT

Unfortunately I don't posses a loom or the knowledge to use one, so that's out of the question, so I am having to make do with a comprehensive school level of sewing/craft making so you're damn lucky its not stuck together with PVA Smilie_PDT

The wing shown in the KGL photo's has a tuft on the end of the shoulder strap, but unsure if it this is a KGL thing or a generic thing as I have not seen it on any other pictures of Brits of the period.
Eddie

1802 Clothing Regs -

50.  "Custom has made most regiments put on the wings of the Grenadiers and Light Infantry a very full worsted fringe"  .....

51. "The Grenadiers and Light Infantry at the option of the Col. of Regts .......... are also permitted to wear Worsted fringe on the wings which must however be made in strict conformity to the patterns lodged at the Office of the Comptroller of Army Accounts"

I wish those patterns still existed!

Another method of producing the fringes was suggested to me but I have not tried - using strips from an old white wool army blanket and teasing out the threads as Simon did above. The weave of the blanket would need to be well defined not the solid fleece stuff. It should work but whether it would end up as fluff rather than single strands would depend on the qualities of the wool I suppose.
What I hope our little discussion here will highlight that there are alternatives to try rather than using thick knitting wool.

I end here with a little quote from John Cooper 7th Fusiliers skirmish at Aldea-De-Pointe Sept 1811 :

"In this rough skirmish a cannon ball struck a heap of stones,one of which struck me a blow on the right shoulder; however it did me no injury as I wore what are called wings on my jacket."
Ben Townsend

Eddie,

So presumably a full worsted wing is the equivalent of kevlar?  Smilie_PDT

In 1820, it was proposed to give the Rifle Brigade wings,

"Letter book, General Stuart to Colonel Norcott commanding Ist batn RB, Belfast, Dec 21 1820,

Acceding to Lane and Oswald being clothiers to the battalion..
..he shall apply to Horse Guards about fringe to the wings instead of straps, as in Colonel Halkett's late German rifle corps etc..."

The correspondance continues with some interesting light on the fringe. Its post-period though...
Obadiah

Just as a side track. For some reason I've only just now seen the images of the Colour Sergeant of the 69th. Again this show the sergeants having a thinner braid of 3/8" rather than lace of 1/2". As far as I know, this isn't written down as a regulation but seems to have been generally adopted. SP informs me that some tailoring books refer to the thinner braid as NCO's braid.

Dave
Pvt._McNamara

Same seems to be true for the KGL Colour Sergeant´s coat (see above).

A full worsted fringe is also practical to wipe powder dirty hands...
John Waller

Just bought some worsted yarn from George Wiel Fibrecrafts near to where I live. They have it in natural and bleached and in several thicknesses. Some grenadier wings to be made from it. Will report on results.
Pvt._McNamara

looking forward to that, John!
John Waller

Pvt._McNamara wrote:
looking forward to that, John!


Should be OK - I'm not making it! Hopefully it will be done in time for it's owner to show it off at this year's Waterloo.
Eddie

John Waller wrote:
Just bought some worsted yarn from George Wiel Fibrecrafts near to where I live. They have it in natural and bleached and in several thicknesses. Some grenadier wings to be made from it. Will report on results.


Ah - I saw that on the Wiel website - Traub Kammgarn from Germany?
I have made fringes from a similar single yarn so I will be interested to see how yours turn out.
John Waller

Eddie wrote:
John Waller wrote:
Just bought some worsted yarn from George Wiel Fibrecrafts near to where I live. They have it in natural and bleached and in several thicknesses. Some grenadier wings to be made from it. Will report on results.


Ah - I saw that on the Wiel website - Traub Kammgarn from Germany?
I have made fringes from a similar single yarn so I will be interested to see how yours turn out.


That's the stuff. They also have silk, linen, wool & cotton yarns plus lots of other useful crafty stuffs - dyes, paints, pigments etc. I also got some black acrylic and plan to make a pirate copy of Gower's GR arrow blanket stencil.
                                                                                           
I'm not making the fringe. I handed it over to the seamstress yesterday who is making our new grenadier his coat.

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