antique original russian Headpiece of soldier's grenadier cap of 1762 For Sale
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antique original russian Headpiece of soldier's grenadier cap of 1762:
An extremely rare forehead in excellent collectible condition.From the old Russian collection.
The reign of Emperor Peter III lasted only six months, December 25, 1761 - June 28, 1762. Of the many reforms conceived and initiated by him, none, in fact, was brought to an end.Some initiatives were later developed by Empress Catherine II, but this does not apply to the transformations in the army - they were all curtailed immediately after the palace coup in 1762.For this reason, both the plans for military reforms of Peter III and the course of their implementation have been extremely poorly studied.It is generally accepted that the entire army was supposed to be re-equipped according to the Prussian model, since the emperor highly appreciated the military talents of Frederick the Great.On April 1, 1762, the regulation on the uniforms of field musketeer regiments and grenadier battalions was approved.The uniforms have become shorter and narrower, the choice of the color of the applied parts(collar, cuffs and buttons) was provided at the discretion of the regimental chiefs.They are out of four possible ones(fawn, white, yellow or orange).the color of the camisole and trousers was chosen.All these innovations were a tribute to the Prussian military fashion, which, of course, could not ignore such an important detail of the form as the headdress.
Grenadier hats with a round leather crown and a low forehead, the design of which dates back to the times of Peter I, was supposed to be canceled.From now on, the headdress for the lower ranks of the grenadier companies and battalions was supposed to be a hat, the sample of which was almost completely borrowed from the Prussian grenadiers Frederick II.Russian officers, for whom the appearance and structure of such hats were unusual, immediately dubbed them"sugar heads".The new hat was much higher than the old one, its height reached about 6.5 - 7 vershoks(29- 31.5 cm).It was based on a frame assembled from willow twigs or a whalebone, to which a figured band was attached on a solid(leather or metal) basis.The fringe and the top were covered with colored cloth.A thread brush was attached to the top of the cap, the colors of which indicated the combination of battalion and company.At the back of the band were fitted metal decorations - two flaming grenades and a figured plaque"with a trophy."
In front, a metal forehead was attached to the frame, which did not allow the hat to lose its shape and gave it a finished look.The forehead was an isosceles triangle with rounded sides, curved in plan around the circumference of the cap.It was sewn to the frame with steel or brass wire, for which there were two rims along its perimeter, between which small holes were made in pairs.The lower part of the cap was edged with thin black leather, which was also hemmed to the forehead with a thin wire.The headband could be stamped from brass or red copper, coated with a brass look.To depict small details, chasing was additionally used.The image on the forehead was a complex composition, the semantic center of which was a two-headed eagle crowned with three imperial crowns.(German type) heraldic shields crowned with imperial crowns, one of which depicted the Russian state emblem(atwo-headed crowned eagle with the Moscow emblem on its chest) and the other - the"Holstein coat of arms".The latter symbolized the fact that Peter III, the grandson of Peter I and the son of his daughter Anna Petrovna, who married the Duke of Holstein, bore the title of Duke of Schleswig-Holstein from birth.Below the eagle in the crowned medallion was placed the monogram of Peter III in the form of crossed Latin letters"PP" with the Roman numeral"III".On the sides of the medallion with a monogram were placed the images“military trophies ".The perimeter of the forehead was decorated with floral designs in the Baroque style; images of flaming grenades were knocked out in the lower corners.
The headbands of the 1762 model were distinguished by their thoroughness of execution, including the elaboration of small details, and a pronounced counter-relief.No information about the number of hats or headbands harvested during the spring and summer of 1762 has survived.It is only known that the officers, and possibly the lower ranks of the Guards regiments(Preobrazhensky, Semenovsky and Izmailovsky),managed to put on the new uniforms.So, G.R.Derzhavin later recalled that in August 1762 he arrived in Moscow and,“being in the uniform of the Preobrazhensky, in the Golstinsky manner, a kurguz, with golden buttonholes, with a yellow camisole and the same pants made, with a thick Prussian braid, arched, and bulging, like mushrooms near the ears sticking out of thick greasy lipstick in front of the blind, flaunts , to whom such an extraordinary or, better, strange outfit seemed very wonderful, so that he drew the eyes of the stupid ... but by the arrival of the Empress the Preobrazhensky uniforms were built in an old cut. "...All innovations of Peter III were canceled immediately upon the accession to the throne of his wife.Thus, the number of prepared hats and foreheads of the 1762 sample was very small - within a few hundred.They did not fit the old uniforms restored by Catherine.In accordance with the practice of that time, military units could return part of the funds spent on the production of headbands only by selling them at sale"for scrap metal".One way or another, nowadays, the foreheads of grenadier hats from the time of Peter III are known only in single copies.Presumably, they could have been preserved in the wardrobes of the guard sergeants, who were almost without exception noblemen by origin, as a memory of military service.