Madras European Fusiliers. Portrait of a named young lieutenant, circa 1850


Madras Army. An attractive portrait of a young officer, Lieutenant James Hamilton Bowen, 1st Madras European Regiment, Fusiliers, circa 1850. The portrait on paper is in an old 19th century frame of polished wood with applied gilt gesso edgings, measuring 12 x 16 ins [30 x 40 cm approximately]. The verso has original manuscript notes and a printed account of his career and death during the siege of Pegu during the 2nd Burma War. We have not tried to remove the portrait from the frame to examine it closely so cannot be certain whether it is an original sketch or some form of print because we value the originality and integrity of the object. It shows the young officer bust length wearing a coatee with high collar, epaulettes, and shoulder belt with plate and was  probably made just before he left for India when he would have been 20. The paper is somewhat wrinkled vertically.    jul17/1

Lieutenant James Hamilton Bowen [1829-1853] was the younger son of the Reverend Edward Bowen, Rector of All Saints and Taughboyne, Co. Donegal, Ireland and his brother was Sir George Bowen. The East India Register 1852 tells us that he held rank in the Madras Army from 20 Feb. 1849 and in the regiment from 3 Sept. 1850. It is recorded in the 1854 edition that he died on 10 June 1853 at Tonghoo. Additional information in the writing of descendants on the verso tells us he died of fever contracted during the siege of Pegu in Burma. The printed note adds something of his military achievements and the esteem in which he was held in a letter from an older brother officer, Lieutenant H. D. Taylor.

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