Lieutenant-Colonel (later Lieutenant-General) James Thomas Brudenell (1797–1868), 7th Earl of Cardigan, 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars

Image credit: National Army Museum

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Lord Brudenell was commissioned in 1824. He purchased a succession of promotions and by 1832 had risen to lieutenant-colonel. From 1836 to 1854, Cardigan commanded the 11th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons, on which he spent the vast sum of around £10,000 so that it became the smartest cavalry regiment in the British Army. Cardigan’s most famous action took place during the Crimean War (1854–1856) when, during the Battle of Balaklava (25 October 1854), he misinterpreted an order and led the Light Brigade in the fateful charge down ‘the valley of death’, against Russian positions. Leading the charge, he was among the first to reach the Russian guns, but in the melée he turned back leaving his men without direction. Cardigan gained a reputation for being arrogant and confrontational.

National Army Museum



Lieutenant-Colonel (later Lieutenant-General) James Thomas Brudenell (1797–1868), 7th Earl of Cardigan, 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars




oil on board


H 60.3 x W 47.6 cm

Accession number

NAM. 1967-02-19

Acquisition method

purchased from the Parker Gallery, 1967

Work type



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