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Travelling chariot

How and Shanks

Category

Carriages & other vehicles

Date

circa 1815 - 1820

Materials

Painted wood body with blue wool and silk upholstery and four iron shod wheels.

Measurements

226.5 x 336.5 x 177cm (7ft 5 1/4in x 11ft 1/2in x 5ft 9 2/3in)

Place of origin

Great Queen Street

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Collection

National Trust Carriage Museum (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Arlington Court and The National Trust Carriage Museum, Devon, South West, National Trust

NT 272892.1

Caption

This type of carriage was used for long journeys, such as the Grand Tour of Europe, which every young nobleman and gentleman of substance made in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The extension on the front of the body is known as a “dormeuse boot”. It has folding panels which can be let down to enable the inside passengers to stretch out at full length into the boot and sleep while they travelled.

Summary

Travelling chariot built circa 1815-1820 possibly by How & Shanks of London, donated by the Marquis of Bute in 1964. Travelling Chariot (four wheels) for a pair or team of horses. This carriage is sprung on whip springs, common grease axles and has a short dormeuse boot and swordcase and a compassed wood and iron perch. The hind boot incorporates a rumble seat which is bolted to the hind footboard. A boot imperial can be removed for a coachman's seat to be secured for town driving. The interior is upholstered in pink watered silk. Painted in black, brown and yellow with lining in brown and red.

Full description

This is one of the earliest carriages in the collection. The age can be judged by certain features such as the grease axles, whip springs and the doors hung on exterior butt hinges, which all indicated that it was built c.1815-1820. There is a How & Shanks of London makers mark on the Venetian blind, but it is not clear if they were the original carriage builders, or if they just worked on the carriage at a later date. This type of carriage was used for long journeys, including the Grand Tour of Europe, which every young nobleman and gentleman of substance made in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The carriage was postillion-driven, and the horses and postboys would be hired for it from post to post. Post was the name given to the inns, which hired horses and postboys all over Britain and Western Europe. There is a sword case at the back of the body, accessible only from inside. The extension on the front of the body is known as a dormeuse boot. It has folding panels which can be let down to enable the inside passengers to stretch their legs at full length into the boot and sleep while they travelled. Behind the body is a hind boot or rumble, with a seat for two servants, usually a valet and a lady’s maid. The extended front body loops above the platform boot show that a coachman’s seat could be fitted to make the carriage suitable for town driving. In this case the rumble would be removed, so that footmen could stand on the hind footboard. This carriage was donated by the Marquis of Bute in 1964. For many years it was believed to have belonged to the Marquess of Anglesey owing to the monogram on the door but despite extensive research there is no evidence to corroborate this attribution.

Marks and inscriptions

On the nearside side panel.: Anglesey crest On offside side panel.: Anglesey crest Engraved on plate on bottom louver of nearside venetian blind. : HOW & SHANKS GREAT QUEEN St

Makers and roles

How and Shanks, coachbuilder

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