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Ben Townsend

Durrant jacket

It has resurfaced!
Paul Durrant

To give this statement some context;

About 5 or 6 years ago, whilst trawling through the National Army Museum's archives, we came across old b/w photos of two officers' jackets. One was that of Capt W C Clerk (currently on display at the Royal Green Jackets' Regimental Museum, Winchester) but the other, a previous unknown one to us, had no record of reference other than it was a 'Loan'.

Sadly, the NAM claimed no knowledge of it's existence other than they photographed it back in 1972 when it was on loan to them, and insisted that it was no longer in their collection.

We presumed it to be squirreled away in a private collection, and gave up hope of ever seeing it 'in the flesh', so to speak.

Thank goodness the NAM closed down and took a full inventory of their archives!
Well done NAM - (better late than never).

So many goodies are surfacing....

Have they actually found it or is that an old photo?

Don't give the NAM too much credit yet - two things I have asked about which are on their inventory they now cannot find. And if I want to see other stuff I have to tramp up to Stevenage.  

They are supposedly re opening the end of this year. At last. They will have been closed over the period of arguably the highest public interest in the Army - the outbreak of the First World War and the end of the Napoleonic Wars up to Waterloo. In July we have the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
 They have admittedly farmed out exhibitions to other museums but whoever took the decision to close at such a crucial time ? By the time they re open they will have somewhat missed the boat.
Paul Durrant

They have it. These are new photos.

Durrant uniform jacket

Please can anyone who might know share any knowledge of the provenance of the Durrant jacket/dolman?

It perfectly fits the description of The Undress or Service Uniform for Offrs. of the Rifle Corps to be a Jacket of dark Green Cloth, without Lapels or Skirts, and made to Button over the Body down to the waist. The Breast fronted with Green Cloth, lined with Green Silk or Shalloon. A Black Velvet Standing Collar lined with Green Cloth. Cuffs Black Velvet 2 ˝ Inches in Breadth, pointed and to open with 5 buttons. A Double Row of Buttons on one Front and a single Row with Button Holes on the Other. 22 Buttons in each Row and the same number of Looping of Black Silk Twist on each Front between the Rows with a Knot on the Outer Side; the Looping 7 ˝ Inches in length at the Top and reduced gradually to 2 ˝ inches a the Bottom, and in which Forms the Buttons are set on. A Loop of Twist on each Front of the Collar, a Row of the Same down the Seams from the Shoulders to the Hip Buttons, and a double Row on the Fronts instead of Pocket Welts... (Service or Undress Uniforms of Officer of Rifle Corps. 1802 Clothing Regulations (Para 23B.))

It seems much plainer than Walter Clarke's jacket.  Was there a change in uniform regulations for the regiment after the 1802 regulations?
Ben Townsend

Regarding the provenance, I believe we are in the dark. We first became aware of the jacket when it was found to have appeared in a NAM exhibition in the 1970s. So it has been there at least that long. It may have been with the RGJ museum prior to that exhibition. Perhaps Paul Durrant, who has examined it, can tell us more?

There is no clothing warrant of equivalent detail to that collected in the so called 1802 regulation (actually a non-official collection of clothing warrants rather than a regulation) relating to officer's kit until 1822. The warrants of 1803, regulation of 1807, and warrants of 1811 and 1812 contain no further details on the jackets.

Thanks for the info.  I am thinking about reproducing the Durrant jacket as it will be cheaper and looks a bit smarter with less frippery.
Ben Townsend

For what its worth, there is a school of speculation that the higher the rank, the greater the ornamentation. I don't subscribe to this. A comparison of the Durrant and Clark with the Hawkes' tailoring book drawings of (then Lt-Col) Barnard's jacket doesn't bear it out. There are also portraits to use, (see my avatar for example) though many of them were made during the Rifle Brigade era.

The only rank differentiation I am confident in asserting is that only field officers used fur upon their pelisses- company officers had sheepskin, and again only field officers (Major and above) were entitled to carry a sabretache. These observations come from Stewart in 1809.

Here is the Hawkes tailors drawing.

Paul Durrant

As Ben says, there's no record of origin at moment. The only point of interest is that wherever the jacket came from, and the collections it may have passed through, it has never acquired the label of '95th' but retained the description 'Corps of Riflemen' (still sewn into the collar):


Jacket colour

Thanks for the colour photo Paul.  Can you recall from handling the jacket whether there is evidence of much fading of the fabric colour?  Is there darker green in any protected areas near seams, on the inside, etc?
Paul Durrant

The fading is predominantly on the front and top arms, suggesting either sun damage from being on mannequin or lying flat (I think lying flat) on display. That, or campaign!

In the recesses inside, the green is not as dark as I though it would be. Probably no darker than the green we use for our re-enactment uniforms.

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