1748 Pattern

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The First Royal Naval Uniform

In 1748 the first regulations for a Royal Naval uniform for officers was released by the board of Admiralty. This was based on a number of designs submitted by senior captains and closely follows the fashion of the time.

There are some items that are common to all uniforms and ranks. Though of course the quality would vary depending on the wealth of the officer.

  • Hat: All ranks would wear a black tricorne with gold trim and a black silk cockade.
  • Tie: A white silk tie would be worn by all ranks except Midshipmen.
  • Shirt: White, the fashion was for large shirts.
  • Breaches: Navy blue with brass buttons.
  • Stockings: White
  • Shoes/Boots: Black


On looking at the evidence there are two main issues that are not present with modern uniforms.

Variation within the pattern

This may be caused by artistic licence of the painter or variation of the uniform as each tailor interpreted the pattern. There was no single supplier of uniforms and tailors would have had little experience of naval uniforms or other examples to copy. This would result in some variation of the details.

Lack of consistent style

The admiralty invited a number of senior officers to submit designs for the first uniform. These were then presented to the board who selected either entire uniforms or details from each. This would explain why the dress and undress uniforms for Senior captains where so different in design. It doesn't even appear than one person designed all the undress and someone else designed the dress. Sir Augustus Kepple was one of the officers involved in the design process, and there's a strong possibility that he designed the undress uniform for junior and senior captains. This friction between styles was one of the main issues addressed in the 1767 pattern which replaced the 1748.

If I was to guess I'd say that the Dress uniforms for Lieutenant, Senior captain and Flag officer where designed by one person and Midshipman and Junior Captain by another. The cuff style seems to support this although I've yet to find solid evidence of who designed what.

Forum Rank Insignia

As with the current system we would use the sleeves and cuffs as the rank insignia on the forum. Dress uniform is used throughout.

Mid rank Insignia.png Gentleman

Lt rank Insignia.png Esquire

JCpt rank Insignia.png Knight

SCpt rank Insignia.png Viscount

Flg rank Insignia.png Earl


Waistcoat / Vest

Lieutenants, Captains and Flag officers each had a uniform waistcoat in white with gold edging. The same pattern was used in Undress and Dress uniform. Midshipmen did not have a waistcoat although a plain white waistcoat might have been worn.



Uniform templates created by 'Not By Appointment' who owns the copyright. Permission given for non-profit use.

Dress Uniforms

There are dress uniform regulations available for Midshipmen, Lieutenants, Junior and Senior Captain and Flag officers. These uniforms would be worn at official engagements on shore or whenever the officer wished to look his best. It could also be worn during battle as a sign of respect to the enemy.

  • Midshipman: Blue single breasted coat with white cuffs, blue 'mariners cuff' detail and brass buttons. The collar is turned down at the neck exposing the white lining. Plain white waistcoat (vest) with brass buttons, worn buttoned up to the neck.
  • Lieutenant: Blue single breasted coat with large white cuffs and brass buttons. Waistcoat (vest) is white with simple gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.
  • Junior Captain: Blue double breasted coat with white lapels buttoned back with brass buttons. White cuff with large 'mariners cuff' in blue. simple gold trim around the jacket and cuff. Waistcoat (vest) is white with simple gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.
  • Senior Captain: Blue single breasted coat with large white cuffs and brass buttons. Double gold trim on the coat and 3 gold stripes on the large white cuff. Waistcoat (vest) is white with double gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.
  • Flag officer: Blue single breasted coat with brass buttons. Single and large gold trip on the coat with gold trim button hole detailing. Large white cuffs with gold detailing. Waistcoat (vest) is white with double gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.


Uniform templates created by 'Not By Appointment' who owns the copyright. Permission given for non-profit use.

Undress Uniforms

Undress uniforms where designed for everyday wear. Made of more durable fabrics to stand up to the rigours of life at sea. There was no undress uniform for Midshipmen, but all other officer ranks had an undress pattern.

  • Lieutenant: Blue single breasted coat with large blue cuffs and brass buttons. Waistcoat (vest) is white with simple gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.
  • Junior Captain: Blue double breasted coat with blue lapels buttoned back with brass buttons. White cuff with large 'mariners cuff' in blue. simple gold trim around the jacket and cuff. Waistcoat (vest) is white with simple gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.
  • Senior Captain: Blue single breasted coat with large white cuffs and brass buttons. Double gold trim on the coat and 3 gold stripes on the cuff. Waistcoat (vest) is white with double gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets. This appears to be the same as the Junior officer Dress uniform.
  • Flag officer: Blue double breasted coat with white lapels buttoned back with brass buttons. Double gold trip on the coat with gold trim button hole detailing. Waistcoat (vest) is white with double gold trimming around the bottom, front and pockets.


Uniform templates created by 'Not By Appointment' who owns the copyright. Permission given for non-profit use.

Source Material

Where ever possible I have used contemporary sources to research the 1748 uniforms. These are in the form of the many paintings held by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Their archives include original examples of uniforms as well as oil paintings from the peroid. I have selected paintings created between 1748 and 1760 during which the 1748 pattern was the only one used.

Midshipman

Lieutenant

Junior Captain

Senior Captain

Flag Officer