Saturday, 13 October 2007

Musings on Sepoy uniforms (or otherwise)

It seems that there is next to no evidence of what British sepoys were wearing in the SYW and only very conjectural and imaginative reconstructions exist. What I have seen so far of those doesn't clearly show me a side and rear view so I can't be sure of the (imagined) pocket flap pattern or the nature of the coat tails. And then it appears that most of the 10,000 French sepoys wore native dress, not uniform, and I don't have a really detailed all-round view of what that was like either. Not a good start, all in all! So unless someone can point me at or provide me with good material on either or both, I think I may have to duck this one and stick to the dress of Europeans in India.

Oh to return to the relatively straightforward mess of European uniform regulations. ;-)

4 comments:

Bluebear Jeff said...

Cheer up! You still have the WSS and WAS and AWI to keep you busy if you feel the need.

David, you have already supplied far more templates than I suspect any of us imagined. Even if someone is doing a really unusual European SYW army, your templates provide at least something close for him to use.

Thank you so very very much . . . and I suspect that sepoys were lucky if they got a simple coat available from local manufacture . . . with little if any "regimental correctness". Forget about the Sepoys.


-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

Dear Stepehen,

Try Boris Mollo's 'The Indian Army' for British sepoys. It has a couple of albeit poor reproduction's of 'near period' illustrations.

Plate 26 shows an oil painting of an Officer of the Madras Native Infantry dated to 1770. In the background there is a reasonable if somewhat small depiction of a sepoy of the regiment. Coat appears like a simplified contemporary British one (in green, with red facings). A flattish turban and knee ength breeches, bare lower legs.

Likewise Plate 29 shows Bombay sepoys from 1773. Quite a different picture to the one above, it shows a simple closed tunic like jacket, with a band of facing cloth down the centre. The 'shorts' typical of later sepoys are depicted but the turban is of a much more floppy and traditional aspect.

Ok so neither are for the period 1756-63 but they may be helpful in making informed guesses.

Regards,

Jonathan

David said...

> Cheer up! You still have the WSS > and WAS and AWI to keep you busy > if you feel the need.

Argh! ;-)

> David, you have already supplied > far more templates than I > suspect any of us imagined. Even >if someone is doing a really >unusual European SYW army, your >templates provide at least >something close for him to use.

Ah - but it becomes an obsession to "get it right" and provide every SYW uniform ever worn! That way insanity lies, of course, but I think it's too late now... ;-)

>Thank you so very very much . . . >and I suspect that sepoys were >lucky if they got a simple coat >available from local manufacture >. . . with little if any >"regimental correctness". Forget >about the Sepoys.

>-- Jeff

Thanks for the kind comments - but the bit is between my teeth now and I am determined to do something sepoy-ish - it's just a matter of exactly what at this stage! As I said above, the insanity is too far advanced now... "There will be no retreat" (shades of the opening scene of "Enemy At The Gates") :-)

David.

David said...

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for that useful reference; I'll chase it up. :-)

Regards,

David.