11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars - A Pouch Flap Table Top Box, 1860
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10.5cm (4.1in) x 17.5cm (7in) x 9cm (3.5in)
Silver, polished brass, gilt metal and silk. An 11th Hussars officer’s 1840-55 pattern pouch flap, with applied reversed VR cypher surmounted by the light cavalry or Guelphic crown, bounded by a laurel-wreath border entwined with Battle Honours scrolls for Salamanca, Bhurtpore, Peninsula and Waterloo, and the regimental title scroll in base with centrally applied Sphinx over the Egypt plinth, all in silver, forming the hinged lid to a bespoke table top box of similar contour, with push catch opener, flared foot with engraved foliate decoration, the interior lined with watered silk of 'Cherry Pickers’ hue.
Originally shoulder belt pouches were worn at the back and contained ammunition for carbines, the firearm of the cavalry, and later, according to the British light cavalry arm dress regulations, ‘writing materials’. However by the end of the 19th century shoulder belts and pouches were solely important items of regimental identity, and, given their decorative appearance, were often converted by former cavalry officers into items for domestic use.