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37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) - Portrait of an Officer
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37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) - Portrait of an Officer

Circa 1903

Measurements: Overall: 66cm (26in) x 52cm (20.5in)

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Watercolour on paper. Portrait of an officer of the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) in review order, comprising kulla and lungi headdress; khaki kurta with buff facings and gold lace, red paisley cumberbund, brown leather waist and shoulder belt with silver chains and pickers, chain mail epaulettes, brown leather gauntlets and 1896 pattern cavalry officer’s sword.

The present portrait depicts a young British officer at the time of the Kitchener reforms by which the armies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, the Punjab Frontier Force, the Hyderabad Contingent and other local forces, were reorganised into one Indian Army that included British Army units stationed in India - its foremost role being the defence of the North West Frontier. To emphasise the unification old regimental designations were altered to remove all references to the former Presidential Armies. In the case of this portrait, the sitter’s regiment changed its name from the 7th Bombay Lancers to the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse). As the elite arm of the Indian Army there was fierce competition for the limited number of commissions available in its cavalry regiments.

The 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) was raised in 1885 as the 7th Bombay Cavalry (Jacob-ka-Risallah) from the manpower of the 3rd Scinde Horse (Belooch Horse), an all-Muslim unit. After the First World War, the number of Indian cavalry regiments was reduced from thirty-nine to twenty-one. The 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) were amalgamated with the 17th Cavalry at Lucknow in 1922 to form the 15th Lancers, which in review order adopted a dark blue European style uniform with red facings for British officers.




 

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