Product Focus: The Death Of Major Peirson

In our latest Product Focus, we explore a classic pocket square from our collection, The Death Of Major Peirson by John Singleton Copley.

Within the post, we explore some of the finer details of the painting and look into the the background of the artist John Singleton Copley. We also look at why this pocket square works so well colour-wise and some of our favourite folds.



The Death of Major Peirson, is an oil painting by American artist John Singleton Copley, that was completed in 1783. The artwork depicts the death of Major Francis Peirson at the Battle Of Jersey on the 6th January 1781. Set in the market square of St Helier, British soldiers support the body of Major Peirson who has been wounded by a gunshot from the French forces. 

The Battle of Jersey was the last attempt by the French to seize the island of Jersey. Privately organised by Baron Philippe de Rullecourt, the seizure of the island would remove the threat that the British Naval vessels posed to American ships in the American Revolutionary War. 

The attempted seizure consisted of 1,000 French soldiers who occupied St Helier in the early morning of 6th January. They had captured Moses Corbet, the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. Caught while in bed, Corbet had immediately surrendered, however as word spread, Major Francis Peirson and his troops refused to surrender.

His troops, which consisted of 2,000 men, organised a counter-attack to engage the French forces, however in the battle he was fatally wounded. This led Lieutenant Philippe Dumaresq of the Jersey militia to rally a combination of soldiers from the 95th Regiment of Foot, the 78th Highlanders, and the Jersey Militia to overwhelm the French and causing most to surrender.

Did you know? The market square of St Helier was renamed to Peirson Place after the Major.


Amongst the dramatic scenes of the painting, a mother tries to flee the battle scene with her children as the French forces push up against the British. The military flags adorn the centre of the painting, the Union Jack billows above Major Peirson and the soldiers carry him while the gold regimental flag is seen behind. 

Amongst the chaos is a lone soldier in a different uniform who is depicted as shooting towards the French sniper who dealt the fatal blow to the Major. It is unclear as to who the lone soldier is as no sources directly reference who he is. 

If you look carefully in the top left hand corner of the painting, there is a group of British soldiers who are progressing down the hill towards the battle scene, which would eventually lead to the French surrendering. 

Did you know? Copley based the fleeing family on his own wife, children and family nurse. 


John Singleton Copley was born in Boston, Massachusetts, known for his painting of portraits and historical subjects. He was generally acclaimed as the finest artist of colonial America. 

Copley gained familiarity with graphic art from his step-father and developed a liking for this style of art from then on. Recognising his talent lied within portraiture he often depicted subjects interacting with everyday objects they used in real life. 

Copley already had some success with the Boston bourgeoisie and had a steady employment with commissions, however he wanted to test himself in Europe. In 1766, he produced Boy with a Squirrel which was highly praised in London. Urged to move to London to continue his work, Copley initially refused, preferring to base himself in Boston primarily, with a seven month stay in New York being one of the only notable exceptions. 

However, Copley finally moved to London after the political and economic conditions worsened forcing him and his family to move. Here, his skill grew and Copley developed an interest in historical paintings, Watson and the Shark being his first important piece of work in the genre.

Copley was elected into the Royal Academy of Art in 1779. Over time Copley's work became more sophisticated, however it lacked the realism of his previous work in Boston. Copley painted with relative success until the last few months of his life, however like many artists of the time, when he died he was heavily in debt. 


The Death of Major Peirson provides a stunning finish to a jacket due to its distinct colours and prominent borders, creating a versatile look that works for almost all folds. The reds, yellows and whites provide a strong contrast that works equally well on both light and dark jackets.

How you fold a pocket square determines whether it adds a subtle accent, or is a flamboyant addition of colour, which becomes the focal point of your outfit. 

We have created a step-by-step videos on our website to demonstrate how to achieve different folds and looks. Below are two of our favourite folds for this square.

Read Further: How to Fold A Pocket Square Guide

1. Puff Fold
The Puff Fold is not only one of the most popular folds but also one of the simplest to master. The classic style is to adjust it till it forms a semi-circle above your pocket, but the very nature of the Puff Fold means you can be creative with the final look. 

We feel it works best for a more casual look, and can be easily adjusted to display the different colours in your pocket square. 

2. Four Point Fold
The Four Point Fold is a sophisticated pocket square fold that is particularly striking if done correctly with relatively even peaks. 

The design of this fold lends itself particularly well to a dark muted suit and serves to add a flair of individuality to an otherwise plain outfit, and gives that little extra touch of class to a formal event.

If you use this fold with a single coloured pocket square it will add a little more interest to your jacket, however for something a bit more interesting, a pocket square with multicolours such at the square squares featured will have a nice contrast with different tones between the two peaks.

If you prefer visuals over written text, then you are in luck as our YouTube channel has a dedicated Pocket Square Fold Series covering all the classic folds you can use on this pocket square and any others within our collection

View the Product: The Death of Major Peirson

Watch Now:Pocket Square Folds Series

Read Further:Product Focus Journal Series

What Makes Our Pocket Squares So Special?

1. We use the finest mulberry silk with our silk pocket squares and linings. The quality of the fabric can be seen in the texture and the level of detail and vibrancy of the finished product. All our silks are printed in Macclesfield, England, an area renowned for silk printing for the past 200 years.
2. We take the utmost care in printing our silk pocket squares and linings which results in truly remarkable levels of detail. Faces, objects and colours are sharp and well defined to give a truly stunning finish. We also take exceptional care with the colour bleed, so the print is almost as crisp on the back as it is on the front, allowing for an unlimited number of folds to a pocket square.
3. The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each square its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk must be softy turned over with a handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.
4. We believe that 40cm is the minimum size for a high quality pocket square. Any smaller and it will slide down inside your pocket with any movement of your jacket, while it limits the number of folds you can achieve as there is not enough volume to hold it in place. It goes without saying we would never advocate any form of pocket square holder. All our pocket squares are either 42cm x 42cm or 40cm x 40cm.