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Welcome to an almost daily peek at our beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia which includes the "Historic Triangle" consisting of Colonial Williamsburg -the world’s largest living history museum- Yorktown and Jamestown.

June 5, 2010

Colonial Gentleman, Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia


This finely dressed gentleman appears to be a colonial dandy, being seen on Duke of Gloucester Street and appearing to be wealthy and refined.  Or, he could really be wealthy and refined; hard to say.

4 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

People back then really knew all about dressing, didn't they. Compared to blue jeans and T-shirts you can tell who is and is not refined. I don't think Obama would look good in a powdered Colonial Wig, but then who knows, he might.

ρομπερτ said...

Agree, that time seems to have been better, when men were still wearing hats. Nice photography indeed with many details. Please have a nice Sunday.

daily athens

Jan said...

Given the coat, hat, and boots, I would guess that the gentleman is portraying a senior officer of the French army that supported the Continental Army at Yorktown.

Feather trim on the cocked hat is a frequent European fashion. Few British gentlemen (be they English, Scots, or American) would be likely to wear something so showy. The boots he's wearing are very fine riding boots, so clearly the gentleman is accustomed to ride most of the places he goes.

The coat he is wearing is a military coat, of a solid colour with uniformly coloured facings (collar, cuffs, and turned-back lapels). Since it is white, I would assume the gentleman is an infantry officer in the army of His Christian Majesty, the King of France, in whose army infantry regiments were generally uniformed in white (though he could be an infantry officer of His Most Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain, who also sent troops to fight the British during the Revolution--they didn't get much further north than Florida, though!)

The gold lace and the aiguillette (knotted gold braid) on his shoulder, as well as the fancy hat an the riding boots, indicate he is an officer, not a common soldier.

As fancy as he is, you would think he might be a general or even a field marshal, but French general officers wore dark blue coats, not white, so he must be an infantryman.

Since the facings on the coat are red, he is probably from the Régiment de Soissonnais, which came to America in 1780, landing in Rhode Island before marching south to Yorktown. The fellow may even be the regiment's adjutant, the Vicomte de Noailles, who was brother in law to the Marquis de Lafayette and who led the French troops in the attack on the redoubts at Yorktown!

On the other hand, he could be from the totally opposite side of the war! The principality of Anhalt-Zerbst, in Germany, loaned (well, rented) several regiments to the British, one of which was uniformed in white coats faced red. Maybe the gentleman is on Lord Cornwallis's staff! THat lon queue *is* rather Germanic...

Anonymous said...

Tremendous Column, Many thanks

Before I go, let me thank you for your tolerance with my English as (I'm confident you have become aware this by now,), English is not my first tongue so I am using Google Translate to shape out what to jot down what I truly wish to write .

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