This is a Foot Guards gorget (approx 3" across), as worn throughout the Napoleonic Wars, although in this case the form of the coat of arms (showing the electoral bonnet of the House of Hanover over the central escutcheon) indicates a firm date of 1801-16. Thereafter the bonnet was replaced by a royal crown.
All three regiments of Foot Guards would have worn it and, although this one has had a hard life, what is remarkable is the survival of the original dark blue silk rosettes with their accompanying straps.
The name and address of the retailer, R. Johnston, 68 St James's St, are punched into the reverse.
The original fire gilt finish has long gone. I have had to replace most of the supporting steel pins which hold the central device (die-struck silver) in place. There is some minor damage at the periphery: just above the crown on the rim and below the coat of arms on the rim again. The tail of the lion has been separated from his body and sweated back onto the plate at some stage, the unicorn's horn is missing and there is considerable wear to the detail of the silver coat of arms.
This is a rare and interesting survivor from an age redolent with glory where British arms were concerned.
Provenance: This comes from the collection of the late David Horne, ex-curator, Foot Guards Museum, London.