Product Focus: The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras Pocket Square

28th Regiment Quatre Bras Banner

The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras is an oil painting on canvas, painted by Elizabeth Thompson (also known as Lady Butler). The painting portrays the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot, of the British Army, on 16 June 1815, at the Battle of Quatre Bras. Occurring just two days prior to the Battle of Waterloo, the painting shows the regiment formed in a square in a field of rye, as it holds off attacks from French lancers and cuirassiers led by Marshal Ney.


The meticulous accuracy that Lady Butler brought to her depictions of the Napoleonic, Afghan and Boer war campaigns of the British army made her one of the most celebrated English military painters of the nineteenth century even though she disapproved of war. She even wrote in 1866, "My own reading of war – that mysteriously inevitable recurrence throughout the sorrowful history of our world – is that it calls forth the noblest and the basest impulses of human nature".

Founder Insight

"Military themes continue to be among the most popular designs in our collection, and this painting is no exception. With a variety of colours and a complementary border, this pocket square can be worn with any combination of colours and is a very versatile design, and part of the reason for its being in high demand."

Elliott Rampley, Co-founder

The Composition

As a highlight of the 1875 exhibition at London’s Royal Academy, The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras records a heroic stand made by British forces during the legendary Waterloo campaign against Napoleon’s armies. Crouching in a field of rye, and forming a defensive square, the British troops were able to withstand fierce attacks by the French cavalry. The painting is 97.2cm x 216.2cm and can be found in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, where it has been since 1884.

Elizabeth Thompson, or Lady Butler, (1846-1933) was a well-known artist who produced many paintings portraying battles and military scenes. 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. Some of her most notable paintings such as The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras, or Scotland Forever! portray battles from the Waterloo campaign, and mainly show British soldiers, exhausted, fighting an enemy who is almost never represented in the scene. Even though her most famous work show battles and soldiers, she never actually observed a battle herself, but would observe her husband's regiment during training, while 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. 
Butler Lady Quatre Bras 1815

The Artist: Elizabeth Butler

As with Scotland Forever! Thompson went to great lengths to create models for her work and, in July 1874, arranged for 300 soldiers from the Royal Engineers to pose in a reconstruction of the square formation, firing their rifles to recreate the smoky scene she desired. Thompson observed horses at Sanger's Circus and the Horse Guards riding school, as models for the French cavalry. She also arranged for a field of rye in Henley-on-Thames to be trampled down by a group of children, in order to recreate the setting. The historic uniforms she had commissioned by a government manufacturer in London.

What Makes Our Pocket Squares Special?

1. 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.

28th Regiment Pocket Square Fold

2. We use the finest mulberry silk with our silk and wool/silk pocket squares. The quality of the fabric can be seen in the texture and the level of detail and vibrancy of the finished product. All our pocket squares are printed in Macclesfield, England, an area renowned for silk printing for the past 200 years.

28th Regiment Pocket Square Silk

3. We take the utmost care in printing our pocket squares, 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.

28th Regiment at Quatre Bras Pocket Square Detail

4. 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.

28th Regiment Pocket Square Border Detail

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