English School 18th, Century
Portrait of a Young Bandsman, possibly from the 21st Royal North British Fusiliers, c.1795 – 1800
Bandsman, the 21st Royal North British Fusiliers
oil on canvas
53.34 x 43.18 cm. (21 x 17 in.)


(Part of  a Pair almost certianly brothers.)


18th c. regimental band uniforms were almost never recorded and information about them is very scarce. Portraits of individual bandsmen from this period are even more so. We know that bandsmen generally wore white coats, with the regimental facing colour represented on the collar, cuffs and lapels. One feature of these two portraits (almost certainly of brothers) is that the young bandsmen’s wigs appear to be of the distinctive "clubbed" form which was a distinguishing feature of fusilier regiments. One of the portraits includes what appears to be a bearskin fur grenadier or fusilier cap to the right, with a white feather plume.

There is  rare portrait , of the same approximate date and apparently by the same artist, provides an equally scarce depiction of an NCO (non-commissioned officer). The fact that this NCO’s uniform is clearly identifiable as being that of the 21st Royal North British Fusiliers, c.1800, provides a strong indication that the these two young bandsmen are also in this same regiment. The features evident in the two bandsmen portraits would be consistent with an attribution to the 21st, as the regiment were Fusiliers, and had blue facings.

We are grateful to Christopher Bryant for his help cataloguing these portraits.