Did generals have uniforms?

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TheRightfulKing2013
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Did generals have uniforms?

Post by TheRightfulKing2013 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:24 am

Is there any real evidence of generals wearing uniforms in the late 17th century, and the War of the Grand Alliance in particular?

I know there are a lot of portraits of generals wearing armour typical of early to mid century cuirassiers. But I'm wondering was this how they dressed on the battlefield this late on when armour was in decline, or were they painted like that just to portray themselves heroically?
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Friedrich August I.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by Friedrich August I. » Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:23 am

TheRightfulKing2013 wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:24 am
Is there any real evidence of generals wearing uniforms in the late 17th century, and the War of the Grand Alliance in particular?

I know there are a lot of portraits of generals wearing armour typical of early to mid century cuirassiers. But I'm wondering was this how they dressed on the battlefield this late on when armour was in decline, or were they painted like that just to portray themselves heroically?
The Term UNIFORM would define a regularity in style and cut of the CLOTHING of the Officers. Within Units they did wear the same uniform as the Soldiers. As soon as they were high ranked, Wing Commanders, 1st or 2nd Line, or even Army Commander the picture looked different. The Cloth was more civilian style, heavily embroided. Fancy. I believe that those free style was in some way also a thorn in the side of the Rulers as it came that those High Commanders had to take the Uniform which the Ruler decided.
In Saxony, as a example, it was not before 1735 that the Generals had a Uniform.
„Macht Euch Euren Dregg alleene“

"Sort your filth out by yourself!" The King of Saxony Friedrich August III., at his abdication 1918, referred to the quarrels in the parliament and the squabbling within the provisional government.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by TheRightfulKing2013 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:46 pm

Okay but you do have any information on trends in how generals and their bodyguards dressed in different countries, colour-wise? I get the impression that in France it might have sometimes been redcoats (from painting of Battle of Fleurus 1695] where the Duke of Luxembourg is wearing a redcoat), or bluecoats (Nicholas Catinat is depicted in a bluecoat with red cuffs in a 19th century painting, but I don't know if it relied on contemporary sources). Difficult getting information on the German/Italian states and Spain.
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Friedrich August I.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by Friedrich August I. » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:04 am

Well, I will look if I can give any information on your request. It my take a bit of time so :wink:
„Macht Euch Euren Dregg alleene“

"Sort your filth out by yourself!" The King of Saxony Friedrich August III., at his abdication 1918, referred to the quarrels in the parliament and the squabbling within the provisional government.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by TheRightfulKing2013 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:56 pm

Friedrich August I. wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:04 am
Well, I will look if I can give any information on your request. It my take a bit of time so :wink:
Thank you. :)
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by Dfogleman2 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:09 am

If you google paintings of Louis XIV by van Meulen, you will find numerous paintings of battles and sieges from the period, which show officers dress.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by Friedrich August I. » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:32 am

Danni, you know that many Painters weren't even there :wink: but anyway it is a source nevertheless.
The other way to think of the General Uniform is that most if not all of them owned/raised Foot or Horse Regiments so they wore their Regiments Uniform as their "Colonel". This Practice goes back to the times of the TYW and saw its end at the start of the 18th Century.
„Macht Euch Euren Dregg alleene“

"Sort your filth out by yourself!" The King of Saxony Friedrich August III., at his abdication 1918, referred to the quarrels in the parliament and the squabbling within the provisional government.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by Dfogleman2 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:29 pm

Its true that many battle painters were not there, but van Meulen was painting for the king and probably wanted to get it right. I agree that many general officers may have worn a version of the uniform of regiments that they owned, and this is a good default to follow, absent any contradicting evidence in a specific case. This is what I normally do. Prussian generals did this at least up through the SYW.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by TheRightfulKing2013 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:20 pm

Perhaps but I would point out that in Sapherson's "Dutch Army of William III", it says that in the Dutch army, many officers wore blue coats especially in the high command, and even in greycoated regiments.

http://reenactor.ru/ARH/PDF/Sapherson_00.pdf

On the other hand a painting of the Battle of the Boyne (1690) by Jan Wyck (painted in 1693), who was not there depicts some grey coated officers and some possible redcoated ones too. The painting is from the perspective of the Williamites.

https://www.johngrenham.com/blog/wp-con ... e-1693.jpg
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by Rebel » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:16 am

In a nutshell, the answer is no. Late 17th Cent British officers may have worn what is known as a state coat (in red) but for almost every other nation they wore what they felt like. If you take paintings of battles such as Fontenoy you will see king Louis XV or Saxe in a different coloured coat and riding a different coloured horse in each of several different works - Uniforms and distinctions would evolve, but not at this moment in time.
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Re: Did generals have uniforms?

Post by arthur1905 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:05 pm

To answer part of your question, senior officers as a rule would have portraits painted wearing 3/4 armour or partial armour, this was the martial tradition at the time and symbolises masculinity and military prowess and has nothing to do with what they actually wore on a day to day. as a side note, where a helmet is shown (normally on a table or held by a servant), if the visor is closed, the person in the portrait is not in line to the throne, if it is open, then they have a direct line of succession.

Regarding uniforms, some generals would but it would be their own interpretation of the uniform and not a specific uniform.
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