An 86th or Royal County Down Regiment of Foot Officer’s Bell top Shako

An 86th or Royal County Down regiment of Foot officer’s Bell top shako with a velvet backed chin chain introduced circa 1840.
A superb example of an officer’s shako manufactured by J.Jones of Regent Street , London and No.16, Bachelors Walk, Dublin. The shako comprises a beaver felt shako body which still retains some of its original beaver skin fur knap. The shako stands 7” tall at the sides and on each side has V shape leather straps which are designed to provide some support to the shako body. The dished leather sunken crown is approximately 11” in diameter. The front peak is approximately 2 ˝” wide at the centre and projects downwards.
The universal fire gilt helmet plate comprises a seven pointed rayed star and large QVC crown. In the centre of the plate is an eight pointed silver (white metal) cut star over which rests a title strap with Royal County Down surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves and a sphinx at the top. In the centre of this device is an Irish harp and crown and behind this device are rich royal blue and green enamels. On each side are battle honours for India and Bourbon and below the Arabic numerals for 86.
The interior retains is original leather sweat band but is missing its crimson silk liner although clear evidence of this is visible. The top of the shako has a crimson silk liner with the makers label attached.
The shako is in excellent original condition although there is evidence of one or two very minor splits to the shako body which are barely visible and do not detract from the overall appearance of this fine shako. The shako would have had a white over red woollen pompom which is now missing. This would have been attached to a slider located behind the universal helmet plate and as such the crown does not have the earlier method of securing a tall feather through a tube and wing nut device.

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