Sunday, November 6, 2011

Carriages - The 17th century

These are just a few facts I learned about carriages in the 17th century. I hope to give some more information soon.

16th century, English carriage  © RIA Novosti

From 1610 onwards paned carriages slowly started to displace the ones with leather or textile window coverings. From this time on functionality in design became overshadowed by pomp and luxury. Whereas it was rather odd to own a carriage in the 16th century, the number of carriages in Paris in 1610 amounted to 325. 
During the first half of the 17th century the number of carriages in France increased erraticly and already in 1616 carriages were common to the english aristocracy. In 1610 George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham was actually the first to yoke six horses to his carriage.

17th century design by Philippo Passarini
17th century coach, french origin © National Coach Museum Portugal

The most carriages in number and also the most luxurios were used on german territory.  In 1611 Kardinal Dietrichstein visited Vienna with an entourage of already 40 carriages. By the end of the century the Duke Ernst August of Hannover is reported as owner of 50 gilded carriages, with each having a team of six horses.
The Spanish were introduced to the carriage in 1546. Altough common by the end of the 16th century the look of the vehicles remained rather simple here. In 1631 the infanta Maria Anna of Spain travelled to Carinthia in a small coach that fitted only two people. Her husband's (Emperor Ferdinand III.) carriages were not very pompous either, being decorated mainly with leather and black bullen nails, lacking any gilded ornament, the only luxury beeing the paned windows.


  1. Ich liebe Kutschen!
    Bei unserem letzten Besuch in Weimar habe ich wieder gefühlte Stunden in der Nähe von Goethes Kutsche verbracht und davon geträumt (passend gekleidet) mal einen kurzen Ausflug darin zu unternehmen...seufz...


  2. Seufz, das wäre natürlich der ultimativ Traum, mal entsprechend gekleidet in so einer historischen Karosse unterwegs zu sein... Der Himmel auf Erden!