Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lady Johnstone, Wife of the Governor of Menorca, c. 1771

Lady Johnstone, wife of the Governor of Menorca, attributed to Giuseppe Chiesa, c. 1771, National Army Museum.

In a previous post I linked the image of a Royal Navy seaman illustrated in John Mollo's Uniforms of the American Revolution to a piece from the 1790's or early 1800's, rather than from Mollo's supposed source: a painting of the 25th Regiment of Foot at Minorca.

Thanks to reader Steve Rayner, we now have that painting! There are numerous paintings of the 25th Regiment at Minorca, six in all. None of them are signed, but all of them offer wonderful detail on the officers' uniforms. This piece is useful to us for its inclusion of naval uniforms as well.

Our tar is on the far left, behind the seated redcoat officer:

As Mollo portrayed him, he clearly is wearing a barge cap with a silver or pewter insignia. As per the regulations updated in 1767, the naval officer to the right of the sailor appears to be wearing a captain's uniform. If we assume (and it would be nothing more than an assumption) that the seaman is attached to that officer, he would be wearing that captain's coat of arms on his barge cap.

However, unlike Mollo's piece, the sailor's waistcoat is not striped, nor is he clearly wearing brass buttons. His neckcloth is black, but is tucked in. The style of his cuffs is not apparent. Nor can we tell if he is wearing trousers or slops.

As to what is under his arm, I'm at a loss. It might be a spyglass entrusted to him by the captain beside him. Any ideas?

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