Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

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JoeyLock
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Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by JoeyLock »

I was hoping to get a Admiral Uniform so I looked for some and found a terrific one from Sutlers which is about 2 hours away from me. I saw a terrific bicorn that goes perfectly with it from http://www.militaryheritage.com/navyuniforms.htm but its £372 and has only slight information: "Royal Navy Full Dress Bicorn, 1795-1812 595.00US (625.00CAN)".
Image
Like the real one in the HMS Victorys cabin:
Image
And used by the HMS Victory staff:
Image

And here is a image I made using the Sutlers uniform and sash also the Military Heritage Bicorn:
Image
I think it looks amazing but its extremely expensive. The Coat alone is £735 and a £150 Engraved Replica Sword + £372 Bicorn will eventually come to £1400-500 once I have bought the trousers, Waistcoat, stockings, shoes and shirt. And that seems quite expensive for a admiral costume.

So is there a cheaper version of that Bicorn? Or would Sutlers create one for me?

Also, Has anyone had any experiance with Military Heritage, since the webpage looks simple so it doesnt seem like a trusty store.

Thanks

Eric the well read
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Eric the well read »

Hi,
Can I ask what you want this for? If you're going to appear at a 'prestigious establishment' It needs to be accurate. If it's for your personal use at a village fete perhaps not so. :wink:
But why do you think an Admirals uniform would only cost 7 weeks wage for the average working man today, when it cost years worth of wages in the past? - Understand I'm not getting at you - just curious!? The right buttons and braid are going to COST and you've got to have the RIGHT uniform to put it on.
At the price you've been quoted, it's just not going to be very good anyway - expect to pay £2,000 (+ the rest) to get it right.
Regards
Eric.
P.S As regards Military heritage don't expect any communication from them it won't happen. Oh, and we got 500 buttons from somewhere(!) The sound of them hitting the waste bin still echoes round this office. :-x

JoeyLock
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by JoeyLock »

I was going to have it as a collectible, in a glass cabinet in my house since I love Napoleonic Naval history. Although I would use it at Fancy Dress parties, I would still like it to be Accurate incase I go to a Expo or as you said "prestigious establishment". Also, at Fort Amherst in Chatham Dockyards, they do re-enactments and I was going to see if they would like a Admiral. Im not worried about it costing £2000-£2500, But I want a realistic, accurate replica. Because I am a history fanatic.
Is it easier to dress as a Admiral or a British soldier? Since I cant find the historically accurate Shakos and buttons. I like both.

I am a role-playing fan and when I looked for a Star Wars costume to join the UK 501st Garrison, I saw a very nice Darth Vader neck brace, from a site layout similar to the Military Heritage, Not designed to well and such. And then I was told it was a load of rubbish and the creator had been arrested before, for fraud. So I would love Professional advice on tailors and such.

Sutlers said they would create any design you wish, if you tell them what you would like. So I would ask them to get a historically accurate Lord Nelson Uniform, and then see how much that was. I also have found a few shops that make a white waist coat, stockings, trousers e.t.c.

But now that you have said about Miltary Heritage, Im going to have to look for a new place to buy a replica Admiral sword, epaulettes.

Any suggestions? :worried:

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Tuppence
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Tuppence »

Sorry, but to say that a uniform at that price 'just wouldn't be very good' is simply outrageous.

Costumers and uniform makers set their own prices based on their own suppliers, their own sourcing, and (crucially for anybody who's any good) how interesting a project it is, and whether they want to do it.

It's not simple enough to say that 'x' price will get you something not very good. You don't have any idea of the pricing structure used by somebody not of your compan, and unless you're standing there with the thing in front of you (or a photo of it) it's impossible to give an informed opinion either way.


Obviously for a full dress admiral, you are talking serious money - the buttons have to be made to order, and gold plated, the lace (in a not small quantity) is not cheap, the fabrics cost £30/m plus - and that's before you add in the time required to cut the thing, and to make it, and all the peripheral bits that people don't think of, such as buckles.

Lace for epaulettes alone can run to several hundred pounds, depending on the variation you go for.



Obviously with regency naval stuff you also have to be careful with uniform patterns - they did change, and sometimes in detailed ways often missed by the less aware of military clothing.



Be wary of any people on here who give their opinions to you - several people are makers in their own right who will want you to go to them (as you'd expect) and their opinions of other makers may not be reliable (I include myself in that, which is why I do not give an opinion on any other makers).
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JoeyLock
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by JoeyLock »

Well if its going to cost "several hundred pounds" for equalettes, then I would much rather go with ordinary golden ones for about £30 from certain Fancy Dress shops and such. I really don't think that if I go to a Elaborate place with this, people will be walking around me with magnifying glasses saying "Oh dear, that appears to be a wrong button by 1 year, Opps. You will have to leave." :D

But do you know anyone who would supply good Napoleonic Naval accesories and uniforms?

Eric the well read
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Eric the well read »

Hi Tuppence,
Well. You are quite right in your comments about pricing structures of other companies. Some do it as a business and others as a hobby. Who does the best research is open to debate. The right buttons and braid, the right materials and authentic cut and construction = costly project - probably in excess of the original estimation.
I'm not actually deriding other makers of uniform and I CAN say that the picture given purports to be an Admiral, when it's certainly a vice admiral of 1795 to 1812,In which year the regulations changed again. So, at least one GLARING anomaly to the educated eye?
Having fully researched and made Admirals uniform (for BOTH patterns), for prestigious establishments, so knowing what's involved, we can say with certainty, that we couldn't produce the fully authentic uniform within six months! Does that sound like we are giving advice with a view to prospecting clients :^)

Regards
Eric
Joey P.M me if you would like authentic specs! ( I know don't need them )!
Tuppence, Nigel p.m'd me and said you had several outfits you wanted to enter into the T.O.R.M fashion show
I know Gini has left messages, please, please get back to her before the deadline runs out.As you know, the fashion show is a hell of a lot of work on top of the usual full on schedule.So your help would be really appreciated.

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Neibelungen
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Neibelungen »

It's often a case of 'you get what you pay for'.

I know one person who will does probably the best reproductions of nelson's uniform, but don't expect change from 11 grand for the complete outfit, and that was for the Trafalgar celebrations, so most likely even more. If you want the Chelink, add a another £5,000 and even then those are not correctly cut diamonds for the period. £2,000 for pastes. Ps.. it was made with very cheap quality diamonds on the original too.

A jeweller will know the differnces at a glance, likewise a uniform historian will understand. To me, a horse has 4 legs and is dangerous at both ends, but they all look the same. Ask anybody who rides and they see everything differently.

If you make a comparison to something you pay 1 or 2 throusand for, you have to expect a different level of accuracy. Most people will use the standard asian made set of 4 orders, but those are completely wrong, they just look right on a casual insection. Same goes with lace, epaulettes, sword knots, hats, metalwork etc.

Other bits are factors, like the quality of cloth., the cut and attention to detail on the stitches and construction. Some people want entirely hand stitched, with all the right interlinings and paddings as well as the entire construction to be as close to an 18th century technique as possible. It's the difference between off the peg, made to measure, and true bespoke tailoring.

From my own perspective, £30 or even £150 wouldn't even cover the cost of the bullions on the epaulettes if you want proper ones. £30 won't even cover the cost of lace on them. Asia might be $1 hour labour, but gold has the same price across the globe, and there won't be anything in them from there. Mylar and brass isn't gold wrapped threads and wire. it might look the same, but it's not a reconstructed napoleonic naval epaulette, it a modern theatrical epaulette.

Put in into perspective. a correct regulation navy pattern sword knot is about £700 to make for that period. You can get a modern RN knot off ebay for £10. I know which is right, but it all depends on what you want to spend and how demanding you want to be for correctness and accuraccy.

The buttons for the uniform (RN 1798-1812 Flag Rank) are about £4.50 each with a minimum order of 250. Visually they are correct, but the're not made correctly (bright gilt flash with a matt lacquer on a brass base) . I have 4 originals and they are all different. (fire gilt and burnished on copper), some are fully coined, some are surface die struck and two are shells on a bone/wood back. There's a £1,000 plus and assumes you can sell 5 to cover the costs for each coat.

The orders will set you back £300 each for correct ones. or £70 for a set of 4 theatrical.

The price doesn't reflect on the quality of the work, it reflects on what the maker charges. There are makers who charge less and do some high quality. What it can reflect is the attention to details, the price and grade of materials and final aim towards historical authenticity. And, as eric said, whether it''s a hobby, or a business (and they come in different shapes and sizes).

Pay your money, take your choice.
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by frances »

You could contact your nearest regiment of the Napoleonic Association to where you live and have a chat to them.

I was told that an Admiral wears his bicorn side-to-side and in the army they wore them front-to-back.

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John Waller
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by John Waller »

frances wrote: I was told that an Admiral wears his bicorn side-to-side and in the army they wore them front-to-back.
True, but totally different hats. The Admiral's is,in truth, more of a tri than a bi.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Eric the well read »

A bicorn is always something to point at ! (two point hat) Geddit? |(
Regards
Eric

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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by frances »

Hi John, more of a tri? Either it has two points or three. So please do illuminate for this ignorant lady who always believes what she is told!.

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Neibelungen
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Neibelungen »

The type of hat illustrated is more properly termed a 'cocked hat' with fan, rather than the bicorn. In that sense it isn't exactly a tricorn, although it's shape is closer to that than the bicorn.

John was alouding to the fact that it retains a front point, something that the proper bicorn doesn't have.

Historically you rarely find reference to a 'tricorn', there all usually referenced as cocked hats, even bicorns.

True bicorns evolve alongside the folding flat bicorn (chapeau bras), though I'm not sure which was the driving force.

In France it tends to be called a bicorn, following the classic 'napoleon style', but most of the current terminology we use is really based on the late 19th usages of the various terms.
Last edited by Neibelungen on Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John Waller
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by John Waller »

frances wrote:Hi John, more of a tri? Either it has two points or three. So please do illuminate for this ignorant lady who always believes what she is told!.
I refer the honourable lady to my learned friend :)
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by frances »

So what you really want is a 'bicorn style' that is flat at the back and bulges out at the front?

Ah, now I see!

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wurzul
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by wurzul »

Note also, that the coat's lapels are supposed to stop shy of the waist, and not extend virtually to the bottom edge as in the example shown at the top.

I'll get my anorak..

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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by Neibelungen »

Note also, that the coat's lapels are supposed to stop shy of the waist, and not extend virtually to the bottom edge as in the example shown at the top.
That's not strictly accurate. There's no specification about them in the regulations as to the length of the lapels. When you compare portraits of officers from the period they have different lengths and styles depending on the preference of the officer. Generally it can be infered the older ones prefered longer while the younger tended to follow the more fashionable trend for the shorter waist length to the lapel. It becomes more prevelant later as fashion silluette changes, but it's not specified.

It also applies to the fronts and whether it was sloped back as in this example or stepped as in the contemporary tailcoats. Welsh & Stalker's bok notes supplying both styles for officers of the same rank.
The same applies to the waiscoats too. Some are skirted, while others are strait cut across and can be single or double breasted.

Naval regs are very vague.. One of nelsons undress admirals coats (the copenhagen one from memory) has buttons on the collar) and doasn't follow regs. Likewise some officers lace both sides of folding lapels, while others only the front.

It's advantage is theres a lot of extant portraits which are dateable so whe can know who the person and their rank is.. even tieing them to tailors pattern book entries.
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Re: Royal Navy Admiral Bicorn - Where can I get one?

Post by wurzul »

As you point out, the regulations do not specify. However, where the portraits show different lengths these vary by only a few inches. Welch and Stalker specifies 4" above the waist, noting that some old and unfashionable gentlemen allow their lapels to almost reach the waist.

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