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My Dad bought this painting and this is the only photo he sent me of it. I started out looking all over to find resources with military uniforms through history, but they seem to leave out the dress uniforms.

I would say the open breast jacket with the epaulettes and aiguillettes should be a giveaway to the trained eye. Any info about uniform ID references or this painting would be greatly appreciated.

--Sameenter image description here

  • any clues to the history of the painting? when was it painted? where (what country)? a name of the subject? – user13123 Jan 12 '17 at 5:16
  • He bought it in the United States. I haven't seen the painting in person, so I can only speculate on its age. I would have to say definitely post 1831 if it is a US uniform (as indicated by the presence of the epaulettes). The aiguillettes on the Right shoulder are reminiscent of those worn by Military Officers assigned to the Royal Family in the United Kingdom. I am 85% sure the gentleman is American. – Same Dean Jan 12 '17 at 5:50
  • Are you sure it's a painting? Looks like a hand tinted photo to me. – AllInOne Jan 12 '17 at 16:16
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    Based on the appearance, I'd guess it's a hand tinted photo from probably early 1900s to WW1-ish - the hairstyle, image style and frame are very similar to a relative's enlistment photo portrait from that general time period. Not making this an answer because it's a wild-anatomy-guess. – Kate Paulk Jan 12 '17 at 16:46
  • It could be a hand-tinted photo. I haven't seen it in person, and am new to this world. Once I get it narrowed down, is there a resource to identify the uniform. If it is a US military uniform between 1900 and WW1, where can I find the branch of service, and meaning behind the aiguillettes and epaulettes to estimate rank and possible position? – Same Dean Jan 12 '17 at 17:49
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It seems as though he is a major - we see two golden bits on his epaulets. See US Army Rank Insignia He is in either the Marines or the Army, because he has a gold aiguillette.

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This is going to be a partial answer at best, because I would no have space to put it in the comment section and I am hoping someone else will be able to complete the answer. Hope this helps.

This officer is wearing a gold aiguillette on his right shoulder. This is extremely important information because it tells us that he is either in the marines or the navy, and is attached to the aide of the President or foreign heads of state.

Aiguillettes are a vestige of the days when soldiers wore breast plates. The cords and the terminal needle-like end were used to bind the front and back pieces together. In the 17th and 18th Century when body armor was disappearing, the aiguillette was retained generally as a badge of office for a ranking officer's aide de camp. The U.S. Army and Navy did not use aiguillettes to any degree until the late 19th Century.

Dress aiguillettes worn by the personal naval aide to the President of the United States were made of gold cording and worn on the right side of the uniform. Other aides wore theirs on the left side and had cords of blue and gold. They were also worn by naval attachés. Similar aiguillettes with red and gold cords were worn by officers of the U.S. Marine Corps. Dress aiguillettes were worn on occasions of ceremony and social occasions. They also could be worn on an overcoat. - Other Insignia Not Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

As for who can wear the aiguillettes on their right shoulder we have an answer here:

The military aide to the President, White House social aides while on duty with the First Family, and officers designated as aides to foreign heads of state wear the aiguillette on the right side of the uniform. All other authorized personnel wear aiguillettes on the left side. Aiguillettes are secured to the coat before the opening of the brass strip, and the front part is hooked into the eye of the service aiguillette. The 34-inch part is passed under the arm, and the button loop of the 25-inch part is inserted through the button loop of the 34-inch part, past the button loop of the 25-inch part notch in the lapel, and attached to the button under the collar. The button under the collar is attached to the body of the coat so that the knot of the 25-inch part will easily clear the notch in the lapel. The loops of both cords cross on the outside of the arm with front loop on top. Either gold cord or gold-colored nylon cord may be worn, depending upon the importance of the occasion and the individual’s preference. - Army Regulation 670-1

Wear Dress of Aiguillettes

It is clear that this officer is in Formal and Dinner Dress Uniform, but one can not pin point the year of usage or rank of the officer from the picture.

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