Grenadier Guards - Waterloo Silver Figure, 1963
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Overall heigh: 31.5cm (12.4in)
Silver. Standing figure of a Guardsman of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards modelled in full dress, comprising the bearskin cap as awarded after the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), knee-length gaiters, tunic and accoutrements badged with regimental insignia. Maker’s mark of Carrington & Co., Regent Street, London. Hallmarked London 1963. Mounted on an ebonised base applied with a silver cut-out ‘1815’.
Bearskins were originally a distinguishing feature of a British battalion’s Grenadier Company. The Light Company and Battalion Companies that otherwise comprised a British infantry battalion wore shakos. It is said the bearskin was first adopted in the 18th century because the brimmed hats worn by grenadiers obstructed their view when they were hurling grenades. In 1768, it was ordered that grenadiers in the Foot Guards wear caps of black bearskin, with the motto 'Nec Aspera Terrent’ (Not even difficulties deter us) on a silver King's Crest on the front.
However following the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and the clash between the Foot Grenadiers of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard and the British 1st Guards Brigade under Sir Peregrine Maitland, that resulted in the surrender of General Cambronne to Lord Saltoun, the Prince Regent issued an order awarding all officers and men of the 1st Foot Guards the distinction of adopting the bearskin cap as worn by Napoleon’s Old Guard in place of the British Army’s regulation pattern shako.