Edward Penny was a noted British artist of the 18th Century. He was born in 1714 and died in 1791. He painted military subjects and was known to be accurate in his details. The Seven Years' War comprised some of his subject matter. The war officially began when Frederick of Prussia attacked Austria. Soon Prussia, Hanover, and some smaller German states were fighting Austria, France, Russia, and Sweden, with their German allies. Great Britain sent British troops to help defend Hanover. This was dubbed the “Glorious Reinforcement.”
This painting shows John Manners, the Marquis of Granby, helping a sick soldier. Granby was commander of the British cavalry until he was promoted to command all British troops in Germany. He was colonel of the Royal Horse Guards, and is painted in the uniform of that corps. While most of the British army wore red, the elite Horse Guards had blue coats. He has a coin in his right hand which he is about to give to the sick man’s wife.
The soldier is most likely from Brudenell’s 51st Foot. Brudenell’s 51st is not to be confused with Pepperell’s 51st. Pepperell’s was raised in the 13 Colonies in 1755 and disbanded in 1756 after being captured at Fort Oswego. Brudenell’s was raised in 1755 and, when Pepperell’s 51st was disbanded, the number was given to Brudenell’s. (1) While all British infantry regiments wore red breeches, this soldier wears green, which author Stuart Reid explains might be “a regimental affectation by a new-raised regiment.” (2) Near the soldier are his wife and two children. One clings to her mother’s skirt while the other looks pleadingly at the Marquis of Granby.
2. pg. 45 of Frederick the Great’s Allies 1756-1763 by Stuart Reid (Osprey:2010)