The outdated formations of the 16th–17th centuries did not meet the requirements of Peter the Great. In 1724, for the coronation of Peter the Great's wife Catherine I, a mounted company of drabants (The Chevalier Guard) was formed, consisting of 71 soldiers. Subsequently, it became a permanent unit that accompanied emperors and empresses as a mounted escort until the accession of Pavel I. Its name being changed (Chevalier Corps, Chevalier Squadrons) throughout the 18th century, this formation consisted only of nobles, who had especially magnificent uniforms and richly decorated weapons, samples of which are presented at the exhibition.
Under the reign of Catherine II, the Escort of irregular troops was created to celebrate the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. It included a newly formed special Life-Hussar Squadron, as well as the Don and the Chuguev Cossack troupes. After the celebrations had concluded, the formations continued their service by the Empress in Tsarskoe Selo. They also took part in the Russo-Swedish War of 1788–1791. Under the reign of Pavel I, all these formations were included in the newly created the Life-Hussar & Cossack Regiment, which continued to perform escort functions. Eventually, the regiment was divided into two units and lost the escort function. The exhibition displays weapons, pieces of painting and drawings depicting the ranks of these formations.
Chevalier guards in the 18th century
The 1840s. By G. Lang. Gatchina Palace and Estate Museum
Portrait of Count I.S. Gendrikov
1768. By A.P. Antropov. The State Museum Pavlovsk
The Life-Hussar Squadron officer
1793. By H. Geißler. The State Hermitage Museum
Grenadier cap of a horse-drawn soldier sergeant
1730–1742. The State Hermitage Museum
Lower ranks cavalier broadsword with a scabbard, model of 1764
Tula. Late 1760s. The Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps
Ceremonial armor of the Chevalier Guard Regiment lower ranks
1797. The Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps