A recent addition to the Museum’s art collection has now gone on display in The Kincaid Gallery. The oil portrait of Nicholas Colthurst Travers (1787-1871) was purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the V & A Purchase Grant Fund and an anonymous donation in memory of Lieutenant Paul Mervis, who served with The Rifles and was KIA on 14 June 2009 in Afghanistan.
Travers was one of four brothers and two cousins, with the same surname, who served in the 95th, later The Rifle Brigade. Whilst there are many portraits of distinguished senior officers few of junior officers have survived; that fact, and the identification of the sitter, makes this depiction of a junior officer in the dress uniform of 1818 of particular significance.
Of Irish descent Travers career is typical of many of his peers. He joined the Royal Navy in 1803 aged 16 before transferring to the 95th as a Volunteer in 1806 and being wounded in the Buenos Aires expedition. He went to the Peninsula in 1808, was involved in the retreat to Corunna and then in the expedition to Walcheren where he caught ‘the fever’. He returned to the Peninsula in 1812 and was present at several engagements until late in 1813 when he returned home. After a protracted period of sick leave, he joined the expedition to New Orleans in 1814 during which he was again wounded. He served in the Army of Occupation in france 1815-1816 and was then posted to Dublin where he served until retiring in 1821. The years 1826-1858 were spent as a barrack-master in the Bahamas, at Hampton Court, Kew and Hounslow and finally, at Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight.