A remarkable survivor from a landmark battle in British military history is coming up for sale at Thomas Del Mar in West Kensington on June 27.
Not only is it the earliest standard known to exist from a
regiment of cavalry of the line in the British regular army, and
has a superb provenance, but it witnessed the last time a British
monarch personally led troops into battle -
George II at Dettingen, Bavaria, in 1743.
Until now it has descended through the family of the subaltern
who carried it in the midst of the action and it has been exhibited
in three museums.
The standard, of the 8th (Ligonier's) Regiment of
Horse, is the sole known remaining example of one from a British
regular cavalry of the line regiment bearing the Arms of its
Major General John (later Field Marshal the Earl) Ligonier.
On June 16, 1743, it was carried by Cornet Henry Richardson, who
was first commissioned in the regiment three years earlier. At
Dettingen - part of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) -
the British were part of the 'Pragmatic Army', fighting alongside
Austrian and Hanoverian troops against the French, who had
The British and their allies found their retreat back to
Flanders blocked but repulsed the French attacks with heavy losses
and were able to continue safely.
Ligonier's Horse were first stationed on the right wing but were
one of three regiments switched to the left to throw back the enemy
heavy cavalry. The French tried to capture Ligonier's three
standards in total and Cornet Richardson suffered 'seven-and-thirty
cuts and shots upon his body and through his clothes, besides many
on the shaft of the standard'. He was presented with the
standard afterwards to mark his bravery - although by sustaining
some of the damage that can be seen today it would have probably
been retired anyway.
Richardson remained with Ligonier's for four years after the
The obverse and reverse sides are mounted separately upon a
board for display and each side is about 22in high and 21in wide
(56 x 53.3cm). In crimson silk damask, it has decoration in gold
and silver lace, gold and silver wire embroidery and coloured
The estimate at Thomas
Del Mar is £25,000-35,000.