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95th Officers Uniform
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Obadiah
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:33 pm    Post subject: 95th Officers Uniform  Reply with quote

This is the start of what will be a very long thread on the contruction of our Officers uniform.

Unlike other reproduction of a Rifle Officer uniform, this one will be a based on the only surviving jacket held at the RGJ Museum in Winchester. The pattern has been drawn up using Georgian tailoring techniques to maintain the Georgian style on a bigger body, also using a period type cloth, a superfine broadweave wool cloth for the body, shalloon for the lining, silk velvet for the collar and cuffs and worsted twist for the forgging. I'm still trying to source a decent supply of 1/2" silver ball buttons.

Apart from the size differences the only other change is we will make is to line the jacket in green shallon rather than black.  

I will post up images of the jacket as I progess with it's construction giving historical details of the tailoring and also show them along side the original.

For now here is an image of the original jacket.
                                 
                                                                                                     

Serj Dave
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The Sarge!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

you are right the buttons do look bigger in the picture.  mjust be glare from all that silver.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original jacket was the property of Lt Walter Clerke, whose silver snuff box, Rifle jacket, sash and cocked hat were presented to the Regiment by Mrs Janet Rose, of Marlows, West Monkton, Taunton. Walter was the son of Thomas Clerke, Physician to the forces, and traced his descent to the Clerkes of Pinecrest. He joined the regiment on 22 January 1807, was promoted Lieutenant 21 April 1808, and retired 4 January 1810. After his retirement he married Miss Arnott and bought a place at East Bergholt, Suffolk. He had many daughters and one son who left no children.
Although only in the regiment a short time he managed to see a considerable amount of service.
The lid of the snuff-box, which is hall-marked 1808-9, is inscribed:-
                                     W. Clerk, Esqre
                              1st Lieut. 95th Rifle Regt.
                          Isle of Zealand and Copenhagen 1807.
                 Charlottenburgh, Ringstead, Kjoge, Herfolge, Roskilde,
                                Wordenburgh 1808-9

                Spain, Corunna, Lugo, Villa Franca, Astorga, Bena-
                vente, Sahagun, Rebakina, Creusee and Vigo 1809,
                      Walcheren, Middleborough, and Flushing.

The sash is the ordinary knotted crimson girdle. The hat is a cocked one (worn for full dress and when not on service?)
This snuff box was stolen from the Winchester museum and is now missing. The sash has been removed from the display case, and may be one of the other sashes in the museum.
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Rifleman LaLa
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw a BW photo of this in the NAM from when it was on loan to them for an exhibition in 1972 - had the button on the other side of the collar then...

(someone with a silver souvenir out there somewhere...)
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Obadiah
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many of the reproduced 95th Officers jacket claim to copied from Clerke’s jacket, but when you compare theirs with Clerke’s there are many differences. Mainly the cut and style of the jacket and the missing off  of many the cavalry style traits. The use of Russian braid instead of a worsted twist cording, more frogging around the back of the neck, open split cuffs, etc. So where did their jacket designs come form? I think probably from Osprey Wellington Infantry 2 by Bryan Fosten. Which shows a drawing claiming to be a copy of Clerke’s jacket at Winchester. Here are images from the Osprey book and that of the original jacket, see if you can spot the differences.

 

So next question to ask is where the artist got his inspiration? The Answer I think lies within the archives of the NAM where a there is a copy of the tailoring book for Tomas Hawkes {Hawkes Moseley Company, London 1800-1817} and within it’s pages is a drawing of a jacket for the 95th or Rifle Corps and was made for Colonel Barnard. In the drawing you can clearly see all the little anomalies mentioned above and seen in reproduced jackets used by re-enactors and Mr Sharpe. So is this the daddy of all 95th Officers jackets? All I can say there’s a lot of Rifle Colonels out there.



Serj Dave
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reynolds and Sumner date the Barnard drawing from Hawke to 10th April 1810, which would place it neatly contemporary to Clerke's jacket. However, Barnard joins the 95th as a Major, and makes Lt Col in 1813.  So Hawke referring to Colonel Barnard would date it post 1813.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With reference to the size of the buttons,
Harry Smith encounters Banditti near Campo Mayo 1809,
"On discovering our numbers, and that we fired no balls (for we had only some Rifle buttons pulled off my jacket), being well armed, they soon made us retreat."

p.21 The autobiography of Lt-gen Sir Harry Smith, Harry Smith, Murray, 1903 (Kessinger facs)
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the Clerke jacket to be heavily faded. Not only has it potentially seen two years of campaigning, but it has been on display for at least half a century. The 95ths colour is sometimes referred to as invisible green or bottle green (dark bottle green, Verner i, p43)(very dark green, British Military Journal), not Rifle Green, which was the colour adopted by the RB in the early C20th. Verner notes that this was a change from a very dark green to a lighter shade. Re-enactment groups seem to be emulating this modern shade of green
An example of bottle green can be seen in this portrait of John Brydges Schaw, 68th foot, c.1777


The facings of the 68th at this time were bottle green, and they are very dark indeed. WY Carman says,
"The scarlet coat has very dark green facings sometimes called bottle green and so dark as to appear similar to the very dark blue-black worn by Royal  Regiments.."

p.132, JSAHR vol LII No.211 Autumn 1974

It has been noted that the 95th earned the appellation of 'sweeps' at home. It was also observed that on their entry into Paris in 1815, (the army was led by the 2/95th, followed by the 52nd in honour of Colbourne's decisive intervention at Waterloo) the Parisians asked who these randonneurs de cheminee (chimney sweeps)were. The 2/95th (who were largely in new clothing issue) obviously appeared pretty dark. This is unlikely merely to be a reference to their black facings..
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khazzard2000
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The front of the jacket does look quite faded to me, both in picture and i real life, but the back looks much better (i haven't seen the back personally so may just be the photo).

Sorry to be picky but surely the period images of the 95th are a useful guide, and to my minds eye the colours used for repro uniforms look fairly close.

Just a little test, in the attached picture are various shades of rifle green.
See if you can have a guess which ones are from period paintings, modern Rifles kit and repro 95th uniforms. no cheating.








Just so this thread doesn't fill up with answers, left is paintings, middle repro, right modern army. Obviously light conditions play an important part and but this highly unscientific test the repro stuff looks like it needs a slightly more 'vibrant' green. They're either too dark or too pale. Hopefully you understand what i mean.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiki,
I'm not sure I buy your period shades as representative, still less comprehensive. But I'll agree there is some latitude in the images.This could be because,
1. We know the dark shade faded quickly.
2. Given an almost black shade, colourists will tend to lighten for the sake of detail.

1. above is not a reason to lighten the starting shade unless you are doing a 'campaign' impression, and I would suggest that even then, you will find sunlight does its job for you naturally.  Lets get some more data. Dave, are you happy with this here, or would you like a new thread on cloth colour?

EDIT: More Secondary data,
"A portrait of Sir John Ross, who left the regiment in 1824, shows him wearing the pouchbelt surmounted by the "figure of flame" (sic- figure of fame is the more usual name for this very rare pouchbelt plate- ben); his jacket and pelisse both have silver buttons.
From the early days of the regiment only two chains were worn to the whistle, but these gradually became so long that it was the custom to wrap them round the belt, and eventually they were made into three.
Both the jacket and pelisse were of the so-called "Rifle green", which was really almost black, and was the colour worn until after 1900, when an actual green was adopted."

Comments by Major HG Parkyn, from p.47 JSAHR vol XXXVI, no.146, June 1958

Two more Rifle Officer bugbears are addressed here- the chains which only become three and long in the mid C19th (info on this also at Winchester), and the black buttons on the pelisse drift. One or two portraits appear to show black buttons on the pelisse in our period- the vast majority show silver. (see contemporary images and miniatures thread in research archive for corroboration)
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More secondary on colour of cloth.
"Officers and men alike were dressed ina dark green material, so dark tht it often appeared to be black. This early attempt at camoflauge was an imitation of the cloth favoured by the jagers of Germany, and gave rise to the regiments nickname, "The Sweeps"."
TJC Cooke, p.55 JSAHR Spring 1980
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khazzard2000
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed that the little colour test was highly unscientific and inconclusive but it was an interesting little experiment.

I shall continue to play devil's advocate here, as i'm not entirely convinced about the colour myself, but a little debate will do no harm. So...

First off, who are your secondary sources quoting or what are they citing to back up their claims? Have they just read Verner or each other and are regurgitating? Or do they appear to be pearls of wisdom plucked from the ether?

I was in the NAM with mr Durrant yesterday having a look at tatloring books among other stuff. Inside they had an umber of swatches for each regiment, sadly nothing for the Rifle Corps except a clearly very early comment about red jackets with buff facings! Anyway, it had green facing colours, some listed as dark green, there were clearly different greens for different regiments which is unsurprising. The 68th's green was really quite light, possibly even lighter than the current DLI sport. In theory the swatches shouldn't have faded being closed in a book for 200 years. The scarlet was certainly full bodied!

All that said there were some very dark greens contained in it as well, even some swatches which were black, though the text wasn't alway clear on what these colours were for.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I welcome the dialogue Kieran, its the best way to grope our way forward. We are lucky to be able to knock our heads together with like-minded souls.  Smilie_PDT I am guilty of positing a slightly controversial position in the hope that it will draw out a dialectic or debate and bring fresh information and views out of lurkers.
I'll be the first to agree that my sources above are bitty and I've labelled them secondary, which is generous in some cases, and that the images are problematic when it comes to colour.
Like you, I've had varying results in tailor's swatches, but I think we may be able to move slightly closer towards a consensus by examining the evidence more closely.
Quick note, according to JSAHR the DLI changed their facing colour in, I believe, the 1790s. The earlier darker version is the one shown above.
Regarding tailors' books:
The Welch and Stalker tailors' book has green swatches of 'green' and 'bouteille (bottle) green' that are both almost black. Tellingly, the swatches are pinned to coloured representations of the jackets showing a much lighter pea green for the sake of detail. Elsewhere in the book, other greens are represented in lighter shades both in image and in swatch, for instance, gosling green. However, wherever an unqualified `green` appears, it is attached to a swatch of the dark stuff, leading me to draw the conclusion that green=dark green for the tailor who wrote this book up- I draw no sweeping conclusions on general Georgian use of the precise colours. We have plenty of period refs to the Rifles' clothes as green and dark green (British Military Journal, clothing warrants etc)
So much for tailor's books. The hint that we have from textual sources comes from the nickname sweeps, mentioned by British and Parisian contemporary sources, with no explanation why. The explanations are not contemporary, they are secondary comment by C19th authors. The French one is the most intriguing, not being so easily explained away as a reference to facings as the British one.
The period images whether oils, watercolours, portraits, miniatures or whatever we can continue to debate, and let us take a rigorous attitude to the `canonical` images. For instance, I recently saw two 'original' versions of the Goddard Booth series in the same library with very different colouring!
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The Rifles, from the dark colour of their uniforms, and the total absence of all ornament, had gained the nick name 'Sweeps', an appellation, which, nevertheless, held out a kind of temptation to the 'wide awake' of the squads."

Rifleman Costello
. Leonaur 2005, p20
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Obadiah
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It Begins.

The Pattern and Toile.
The pattern has now been drafted and cut. The pattern was created using the Georgian method of using an mathmatical equation to get the different measurments that are needed to make up a pattern. What this means is even though this jacket is bigger than Clerke's jacket all the same characteristics will be in the same proportions. I hope that makes sence, I didn't draft the pattern this was done by our freind Sean Phillips. Once Sean had drawn up the pattern this was given to our fair Freya who made it into a paper pattern and calico toile.

The first toile fitted fairly very well accross the back but was too loose in the chest, the arms were way too thin. Freya made some adjustments and made a second paper pattern and toile. This fitted just about right though the arms were a tadge too short. However the second toile went missing never to be seen again, so I made up a third toile with the longer arms and again had to make a few minor adjustments. Once happy with the fit, I then made a third paper pattern and this is the one which we will use to cut the cloth.

It has to be said that Sean drafted the pattern without actually taking a single measurment from Den {our Officer} in person. All the measurments were sent via email, and despite a few adjustments the overall fit was very good. All the adjustments were made to the forepart and mainly at the side seams to give a tighter fit. One of the main fetures of this jacket is the narrow back. Any adjustments there would have lost this very Georgian look.

Here are some images of the final pattern and toile on Bert {my tailoring dummy}. The image of the pattern shows all the main parts for the shell of the jacket. Despite my best efforts I could not get Bert into the same shape as our Officer.



Next job now is to cut out the cloth and at £37 a metre I will only get one chance.

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