RN Uniform Regulations 1825 Illustrated plates

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    Fr. Paul Vasquez

      Before I begin employing an independent researcher to go to Greenwich and take some photos with their smartphone, does anyone on here have a copy of these illustrations anywhere? I’ve searched far and wide through the internet and come up with just two of these plates, specifically on certain head coverings (I don’t even know if this includes all of the illustrated hats & caps),


      and swords https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-128437

      The library entry is https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/library/rmgl-13103 but I don’t even know if this copy is complete. From what I can tell, these were the first illustrated RN uniform regulations and the first published in the official Navy List. While the text of the regulations is as widely available as the surviving Navy Lists and digitized more than once, the illustrations apparently were only distributed to major ports and stations.

      Of particular interest in 1825 was the adoption of the flared top peaked cap, which was apparently informally adopted in fatigue/garrison/forage/service wear by certain Army regiments sometime in the early 1820s if the artistic record is of any use, but adopted service-wide by the Royal Navy in January 1825 with the publication of the Navy list and thus might have seen official service in the First Burma War.

      This is doubly important for the history of other navies, as the United States Navy adopted a similar design by 1826 informally https://ussconstitutionmuseum.org/2015/09/02/hats-caps-and-chapeaux/, and officially in 1830, but with no actual measurements until 1852. A lot more I could say on the subject but that should be sufficient to establish the reason for my interest. It seemed strange to me that such a key historical document was not widely available in the digital age in its totality.

      For the record, I did submit an inquiry at the NMM, but without realistic expectation of receiving a reply.

      Sam Willis

        Hi Paul – Thanks for getting in touch. Hopefully someone can help.

        The library entry says it is not available to order. So if you do chose to send someone to photograph the item I’d check first with the Caird Library.

        It’s also worth noting that the NMM has many more images available than are actually on their website. You can contact them via the main images website here.

        Simon H

          Did you email library@rmg.co.uk, Paul? They’re usually quite quick at replying to queries and always very helpful. Hopefully their copy is still accessible as Google suggests it’s not available anywhere else.

          Fr. Paul Vasquez

            @Sam: I checked there yesterday, but even the two pages already online aren’t on that image site using a variety of search terms, even just plain “1825.”

            @Sam, @Simon: I’ve done so at your suggestion. Thanks!

            Fr. Paul Vasquez

              So here’s the unfortunate reply from the Library:

              Thank you for your enquiry regarding images of other plates from Description of the uniform which, in pursuance of His Majesty’s pleasure is to be worn by officers of the Royal Navy, published in London by the Admiralty in 1825.

              We could usually offer a charged-for scanning service of the other illustrations in which you were interested, provided these were for personal reference (rather than publication or broadcast). Unfortunately, we are currently unable to locate our copy of this book so this would not be possible. The images that you’ve found on our catalogue are for single prints from the prints and drawings collection (part of the Museum’s art collection). There are separate from our copy of the whole work. I have not been able to find any other prints from the same work on our Collections Online catalogue, nor have I been able to find any other libraries with copies of the book in the union catalogue Library Hub Discover (https://discover.libraryhub.jisc.ac.uk/), which might have been another solution.

              I’m afraid I don’t have any other suggestions for collections you could try. I’m sorry not to be able to be of more help on this occasion.

              Kind regards,

              I guess we’re lucky that someone happened to have stuck two plates from the original regs into an art folder somewhere. If anyone ever gets a lead on a copy someplace, I’d appreciate if you’d post to the forum. This is not for a future article, but rather to try to preserve this important resource for future generations.

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