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Zoomable Image of Portrait miniature of an Officer wearing the uniform of the 88th Regiment of Foot, his scarlet coatee with buff facings and silver epaulette, his belt-plate bearing the number ‘88’, c. 1801

Portrait miniature of an Officer wearing the uniform of the 88th Regiment of Foot, his scarlet coatee with buff facings and silver epaulette, his belt-plate bearing the number ‘88’, c. 1801

Edward Nash (1778-1821)

Portrait miniature of an Officer wearing the uniform of the 88th Regiment of Foot, his scarlet coatee with buff facings and silver epaulette, his belt-plate bearing the number ‘88’, c. 1801

Edward Nash (1778-1821)

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Price:

£3,750

Materials:

Watercolour on ivory

Dimensions:

Oval, 3 in (77 mm) high

Provenance:

Private collector; Judy and Brian Harden Antiques in 2002; Private collection UK

Frame:

Gilt-metal frame, the reverse with central blue glass panel with seed pearl monogram ‘BB’, with dark auburn hair surround

The regiment embarked in 1799 for India, reaching Bombay early in 1800, a year before Nash arrived in the same city. He must have captured the likeness of this officer prior to the regiment's deployment to Egypt for two years...

Born into a wealthy merchant family, Nash had moved to London in the late 1790s to pursue his career as an artist. Unmarried, his family records that he was a hunchback who suffered from debilitating illness during his relatively short life. Nevertheless, he made the treacherous journey to India where this sensitive portrait was painted.

The sitter was an officer in the 88th Regiment of Foot, which was raised in September 1793 and was chiefly recruited in Connaught, Ireland. Styled ‘The Connaught Rangers’, the regiment embarked in 1799 for India, reaching Bombay early in 1800, a year before Nash arrived in the same city. He must have captured the likeness of this officer prior to the deployment of the regiment to Egypt for two years. The regiment eventually joined Wellington’s army in the Peninsular in 1808. It was during these campaigns that the 88th distinguished itself, leading Wellington to describe it as ‘that most astonishing infantry’ and where it later earned the moniker of ‘The Devil’s Own’. The troops also had the reputation of being the worst plunderers in the British Army, the military historian Arthur Bryant describing them thus; ‘The 88th were a tough crowd from the bogs of western Ireland ... But they were born fighters and their Scottish Colonel, Alexander Wallace, made them one of the crack regiments of the army.’

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