Grenadiers 1735

These paintings were done by Bernard Lens, an English artist of Dutch descent. In 1735 he published the "Grenadiers' Exercise of the 1st Foot Guards" the figures were drawn from life 'for the diversion of the Duke of Cumberland' There was also a 1744 version.

The grenadier cap is now much taller than the cap devised in 1684 for the grenadier companies of infantry regiments. The front is decorated with a garter star and crown. Below them is the white horse of Hanover. The back of the cap is embroidered red cloth, blue at the base with a grenade device. The cuffs of the coat appear to have silver lace in a zigzag wave with buttons at the highest points. The lace on the lapels on later coats is white but here it could be silver to match the cuffs. The skirts of the coat are not turned back during this period. The rear of the skirts has three rows of silver lace. The leather belts are light tan. They support a bag of grenades decorated with a crown and GR. On the right hip hang a sword and bayonet. His legs are protected by white buttoned gaiters or spats.

The small cap is a practical measure at a time when regular soldiers wore the tricorn hat. As grenadiers, these men were required to sling their muskets over their shoulder to use two hands to light and throw the grenade. The tricorn hats would have impeded this movement so small caps were taken into wear. In later years these grew in height to make a more military appearance. This cap is very ornate and bears the cypher of King James II. On his waistbelt is a plug bayonet, so the officers must have carried muskets. His coat is crimson velvet with light blue facings. This shows that the guards tradition of wearing the royal livery dates back to at least this date. The sleeves are interesting in that the cuffs are small compared with the prevailing fashion. There are no visible buttons on the turned up cuff but there is a diagonal set of four buttons above the cuff. He uses a lighted taper to ignite a grenade.

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by Stephen Luscombe