The Artists' Rifles


The regiment, originally the Artist' Rifles until the apostrophe was officially dropped in 1917 as it was so often misused, was formed in 1859, part of the widespread volunteer movement which developed in the face of potential French invasion after Felice Orsini's attack on Napoleon III was linked to Britain.

The group was organised in London by Edward Sterling, an art student, and comprised various professional painters, musicians, actors, architects and others involved in creative endeavours.

It was established on 28 February 1860 as the 38th Middlesex (Artists) Rifle Volunteer Corps, with headquarters at Burlington House.

Its first commanders were the painters Henry Wyndham Phillips and Frederic Leighton.

Five past Presidents of the Royal Academy were members of the regiment.

The unit's badge, designed by William Wyon, shows the heads of the Roman gods Mars and Minerva in profile.

In September 1880, the corps became the 20th Middlesex (Artists) Rifle Volunteer Corps, with headquarters at Duke's Road, off Euston Road, London (now the home of The Place, the Contemporary Dance Trust)

It formed the 7th Volunteer Battalion of the Rifle Brigade from 1881 until 1891 and the 6th Volunteer Battalion from 1892 to 1908. During this period, the Artists Rifles fought in the Boer Wars as part of the City Imperial Volunteers.

The Unit became the 28th. (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment on 1 April 1908.

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