Townsend’s Coat, 1782-1793

Samuel Townsend (1733-1794) wore this coat while serving as a Major General with the 34th Regiment 1782-1793. The collar, cuffs and lapels, otherwise known as facings, are therefore navy blue and not the green of the Green Howards. He served with the Green Howards 1760-1769 during which time he saw active service at the siege of Belle Isle in 1761. An oil painting of Samuel dated 1766-1767 shows him wearing Green Howards uniform.

Military uniform mirrors civilian fashions. In the 1780s the style of this coat would have been typical formal attire of the fashionable 18th century man. The coat is single-breasted with 3 hook fastenings at the chest. It is then cut to sweep away to the hips. The coat is heavily tailored to exaggerate the hourglass shape of the wearer. Narrow sleeves were very fashionable and the fabric has been cut to reduce excess material around the elbow. Large pockets, which span almost the width of each tail, have been cut into the lining. It is clear that Samuel used these pockets as the lining has been stretched due to the weight.

The decorative shapes on the sleeves and epaulettes have been created using goldwork. Goldwork is a technique where metal is wound around a thread to create a thick metal thread which can be stitched with. In this case it has been stitched to create a twisted decoration. The buttons which decorate the coat are those worn by Major Generals and depict a sabre crossed with a baton.

Further information and technical detail (PDF)

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