A 78th or Ross-shire Buffs Regiment of Foot Officer’s Feather Bonnet circa 1870’
A very rare 78th or Ross-shire Buffs Regiment of Foot officer’s fine feather bonnet circa 1870’s.
The bonnet comprises a diced woollen band of red, white and dark blue edged in black velvet that has now toned to a dark brown colour and has lost most of its velvet pile. This bonnet should not be confused with later pattern bonnets as the quality is really evident in the manufacture and clearly dates the bonnet to the 1870’s or even earlier.
The red leather sweat band is topped off with a blue material and the frame has been constructed in such a way that it is not possible to see into the bonnet from the underneath. However the frame has been constructed of split cane or similar material unlike later examples that were typically made with a wire frame as is evident from one of the iimagges attached to this listing.
The ostrich feathers are finest officer quality rather than the more coarse versions used on later examples. The bonnet has four tails and a pair of black silk ribbon. On the left hand side is a black silk rosette upon which is attached the bonnet badge of the 78th which comprises a wreath of thistles around an elephant device commemorating Assaye with a QVC crown above and a scroll stating the motto "CUIDICH’N RHI", which means help the king.For many years the motto was spelt "RHI" and was amended to the correct spelling in 1869. A white feather plume on whale bone sits behind the bonnet badge.
It has been suggested that this bonnet belonged to General Sir John Ewart GCB of “thin red line” fame who later commanded the 78th Highlanders in the 1860’s but I have found no evidence to support such an attribution although I do possess numerous items of militaria belonging to Sir John Ewart whilst he served in the 93rd Highlanders and latterly in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders but this bonnet did not originate from the same vendor..