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Miss Corporal's Tippet

Miss Corporal
The black and white illustration of the Miss Corporal image shown here is from a book by Phillis Cunnington and Catherine Hinds, Charity Costumes 1964 (pub. Adam & Charles Black, London). Cunnington and Hinds described the image as 'having military overtones' in which the sleeve of the girl's dress shows her distinction as a little 'Corporal'. She wore what would be described in 1814 as a 'typical charity girl tippet fastened at the back'.
Miss Corporal

In fact, the stripe on the girl's sleeve is more clearly defined than on the coloured version used to illustrate the front cover of The Charity of Mars, 2003 (pub. Black Cat Press). The uniform of the boy seated on the stool is also well defined. It is from this illustration that the uniform for the RMA boys was presumed to be a direct copy of the 'bum freezer' jacket of the Royal Hibernian boys.

1895 RHMS pensioner with boys

There is, however, a subtle difference the uniforms of the two schools. The RHMS jacket shows a sleeve from shoulder to the cuff, all scarlet. An example can be seen in the Pensioner & boy photo of 1895. The RMA sleeve has a navy blue cuff, but oddly without buttons.

Miss Corporal Miss Corporal

Regarding buttons, the top two buttons of the boy seated are undone, which might have been acceptable in 1814, but was certainly against the rules for later generations of Dukies. It could of course been a casual touch on the part of the artist.

The background of the RMA building can also be compared with the Philip R. Morris painting Sons of the Brave and the G. H. Shepherd illustration of 1820. Very little has changed in the 66 year interval. Strangely enough, the view is very similar to this painting, displaying the columns and main entrance of the Asylum.
The actual shape of the boy’s hat can also now be determined. Straight peak to the front of about two inches with a rounded crown that looks to be between four and five inches in height.

The original coloured aquatint by I. C. Stadler (after G. H. Shepherd) was in a publication Costumes of the British Army 1814 and is the detail of a plate now in the Army Museum Library. The title of the plate was Children of the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, 1814.

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