An Edwardian Study of a Gentleman of the 2nd (Queens’s) Troop of Horse Guards (1660), 1905
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Overall: 52cm (20.5in) x 34cm (15.5in)
Watercolour on paper. Equestrian study of a Gentleman of the 2nd (Queens’s) Troop of Horse Guards (later 2nd Life Guards). Signed ‘R. Wymer’ lower right. Contained in a gilt wood glazed frame.
The original Troops of Horse Guards were not ordinary soldiers as in the line regiments, they were 'gentlemen'. The 1st Troop were originally young men of noble birth who joined the exiled Prince Charles in France. Impressed by King Louis XIV's Household troops, Charles formed his own bodyguard with these men, placing them under the command of Lord Gerard of Brandon. When Charles returned to England on 25th May 1660 he was escorted to London by the King' Troop of Horse Guards.
Major Reginald Augustus (1849-1935) was by turns a soldier, artist, Deputy-Chief Constable of Hertfordshire and father to a wayward son. Born in Upper Berkeley Street, Westminster, the youngest son of General Sir George Wymer, K.C.B., and his wife Emily, daughter of Sir C.F. Crespigny, he was a commissioned into the 91st (Argyllshire) Highlanders in 1870. He gave early proof to his creative talents by designing costumes for the D’Oyly Carte comic opera Ruddigore that premiered at the Savoy Theatre in 1887. The problems with his son, also named Reginald, began after the latter’s return from the South African War and the pawning of a diamond brooch belonging to an actress. A widely reported court case ensued in which the penniless Reginald junior, a former subaltern in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was found to be the guilty party. Reginald junior’s troubles continued with his attempts to earn a living by betting on horses, and peaked with a sentence of three months’ hard labour for trying to defraud a clergyman. Throughout these dramas, Wymer senior continued as a reserve officer of the 3rd Bn. Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. He retired from the Army in 1905, but returned during the First World War as a captain on the General List. His military pictures were widely collected, and his patrons included Queen Victoria, Edward VII and Queen Mary, who on 28 May 1932 visited Fortnum & Mason 'to see charming pictures by Major Wymer'.