This week, we explore another one of our military themed and most popular pocket squares; The Colours, Advance Of The Scots Guards At The Alma. The iconic painting by Elizabeth Thompson (also known as Lady Butler), depicts Captain Lindsay, later Lord Wantage, of the Scots Guards, leading his men into The Battle of Alma.
Did You Know? In 1879, Lady Butler came within two votes of becoming the first woman to be elected as an Associate Member of the Royal Academy.
Below, we will discover more behind the artist and the painting itself, and showcase exactly why this pocket square is the perfect match for any navy jacket.
Shop the Collection: The Colours, Advance Of The Scots Guards At The Alma
Behind The Painting
Within the artwork, Captain Lindsay, later Lord Wantage, of the Scots Guards is seen leading his men into battle carrying the regimental colours after a Russian attack had broken the lines of the Welsh regiments. The Battle of Alma, one of the first battles of the Crimean War, saw seven Victoria Crosses be awarded to soldiers for bravery.
While Lady Butler's topics reflected themes of romanticism, her paintings, such as this one, were generally realistic in detail, with aspects such as confusion, mud and exhaustion being accurately portrayed. In addition, this painting reflected many of her works, which tended to focus on British troops shown in action or shortly after it, but avoided scenes of hand-to-hand combat.
Within The Colours, Advance Of The Scots Guards At The Alma, the British troops are perhaps shown as their opponents might have seen them, with an accurate depiction of both fear and resilience delivered within their expressions. We also see two fallen soldiers mid-battle amongst the gunpowder smoke, again offering a realistic view of the battle.
The Artist: Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson, or Lady Butler, (1846-1933) was a well-known artist who produced many paintings portraying battles and military scenes. However, unlike many other artists, she commented in 1922 that she did not use paint for the glory of war but to portray its pathos and heroism. She was married to British Army officer Sir William Butler, becoming Lady Butler after he was knighted in 1906.
Some of her most notable paintings, such as The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras or Scotland Forever! (as shown in our silk jacket lining, right) portray battles from the Waterloo campaign, and mainly show British soldiers, exhausted, fighting an enemy who is seldom represented in the scene. Her fame increased as her paintings toured Europe, alongside photographs of Elizabeth. She gained even more notice because people discovered that she was both young and pretty, something typically not associated with painters of battle scenes. It also helped that there was a considerable swell of Victorian pride and romanticism for the growing British Empire during this time.
Did You Know? Even though her most famous work shows battles and soldiers, she never actually observed a battle herself but would observe her husband's regiment during training, often standing in front of the charging horses to accurately capture their movement. She also had copies of the soldiers' uniforms made in order to be able to paint them with as much detail as possible.
WHY THIS POCKET SQUARE WORKS PERFECTLY WITH A NAVY JACKET
Navy is the most versatile colour when it comes to menswear tailoring, and it complements a variety of colours from yellow to grey, to even brighter colours such as green and pink. However, there is no better combination than the classic and timeless red and navy suit.
The example colour combination below of deep red and burgundy harmonises beautifully with any navy jacket. In addition, you can add more contrast to the outfit showing more of the lighter hues within the pocket square.
The Colours, Advance Of The Scots Guards At The Alma Pocket Square, also has the Union Jack prominently shown within the artwork. This iconic flag colouring will capture and complement any navy jacket, pulling the outfit together, creating a sense of patriotism, and being visually appealing.
As one of the most classic and often used combinations, you will never look out of place when pairing navy with a crimson red or burgundy. We also love the hint of texture that you get with a wool-cashmere tie.
In the below video, as part of our YouTube Style Series, Alex explores this pairing, alongside other classic colour combinations to wear with a your navy jacket.