Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kerjean's Company c 1760

Further to my post about De Bussy and his Deccan Volunteers, here is the water colour of Kerjean's Company, c 1760, complete with the notation that dates it to 1866.

I don't read French, but it may be that the notation says that it is based on an original watercolour. If anyone can translate that would be appreciated!

I double checked one secondary source which clearly states that the picture dates to 1760 and is of an unidentified soldier. The author may have seen the original on which this is based.

One thing that is clear is that the uniform is not that which is traditionally associated with France at this time. It seems a much more "modern" style, if that makes sense.



  1. "1760
    Troops serving in India
    drawn by Kerjean
    1866 October

    The green on the original is lighter"

    Indeed the cut looks 'odd / too modern' for 1760 France [a little like Black Scorpion's Marines], but then it may be a sensible adaptation to the local climate?

  2. I can read :

    "Troops serving in India
    Drawn by Kerjean

    The green colour from the original is lighter (or brighter).

    It is possible to read "Ubique Gallia" on the hat or helmet."

  3. Great picture, it does look like a later picture though, the shape of the facings remind me of a British coat from the AWI. But who are we to argue, it does say 1760 after all!!

  4. Thanks guys!

    The more I look at the militia and volunteer units, the more I am coming to the conclusion that their uniforms did not necessarily follow the Royal warrants applicable to regulars.


  5. starkadder translated it at

  6. It would be enlightening to learn more about the story of the picture, in order to rightly understand the caption: "Drawn by Kerjean 1866". Does it means that *this* picture was drawn by Kerjean in 1866 (from a family original?), OR that this picture is a (2nd hand) copy of a 1866 drawing by Kerjean from some unknown original?

    Another intriguing point is the fourragere on the right shoulder, normally at that time restricted to dragoons (as a left-over of their initial role of mounted infantry); the two pistols at the waistbelt would be embarrassing when riding, and redundant with those in the saddlery holsters: a dismounted dragoon, then? Hard to tell if the musket is of a 'shortened' pattern.
    The epaulette on the left shoulder look a little large for 1760 France, but who knows? Certainly not a mark of rank: the musket worn on the left is characteristic of 'troops', sergeants and officers wore it on the right (as the earlier halberd / spontoon).

    I wonder if the Black Scorpions Marines 'shortened' uniform is that much 'unhistorical' in the end (by accident, of course, taken as it is from Walt Disney as the primary source!). British (light) infantry adapted its uniform in Canada during the FIW (while other armies were content with dropping the coat and fighting in waistcoat under hot weather): why would not some sensible oversea commander have taken a similar initiative, specially for locally recruited troops? The 'chefs' of the Black Laptots de Goree (1763) {i.e. their half-breed sergeants} were dressed European-fashion, but with 'a white short coat or long waistcoat with yellow collar and Polish cuffs over a short yellow waistcoat' [no direct web link to an illustration, but appears in the Osprey 'Louis XV's army: Colonial & naval troops' (René Chartrand,Eugène Lelièpvre), seemingly put on-line by Google -previous page].

  7. abdul,

    Thanks for the post. I too am coming to the conclusion that locally raised Militia/ volunteers may have been issued more suitable uniforms for the climate.