90th Perthshire Volunteer Regimental Colours

This was the second set of colours presented to the 90th Perthshire Volunteers (later Light Infantry), and the first to be carried into battle.

The colours consist of a silk Union Jack flag with an embroidered floral pattern in the centre and four Sphinxes with the battle honour of Egypt above them.

For every Regiment in the army the colours are very significant. As well as recording the battle honours won by the Regiment, they were used during battle to help soldiers keep track of their Regiment.

The 90th Perthshire Volunteers were raised by Thomas Graham in 1794, and were presented shortly after with their first set of colours. After the Act of Union in 1801, new colours showing the new flag were issued. It was these colours which were carried into action in Egypt in March 1801 and then later saw action in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

By the time new colours were issued to the Regiment in 1817, the previous colours were reduced to shreds and were given back to Thomas Graham. In 1882 they were placed in St Giles Cathedral, where they hung along the aisle for many years.

In 2010 these colours were found at St Giles and donated to the museum. The colours were in a very bad state; the silk was very dirty and dusty, and had also become distorted from many years of hanging. Over the years, there had been two attempts to repair damage to the original silk. This was done by attaching new silk fabric which was now in a worse state than the original, and had begun to split and break down. Later the colours were covered in netting to contain the original silk. However, this had also begun to break down and was obstructing the view of the original silk and embroidery.

Professional conservation of the colours was then carried out to both clean the original silk and remove the silk and netting added during repairs. A new silk colour was then produced, with the original silk and embroidery stitched over the top in their original positions.

90th colours photo magnify
The colours of the 90th Perthshire Volunteers Regiment

The colours of the 90th Perthshire Volunteers Regiment before conservation.

90th colours restored magnify
90th colours restored

The colours of the 90th Perthshire Volunteers Regiment after conservation.