|A sketch of Louis XVI's coronation coach|
On 11th June 1775, Louis XVI was crowned in Reims. For the formal entrance into the city and procession to the Cathedral, a new royal carriage was ordered. Bélanger, an architect and decorator in the department of the Menus Plaisirs, was tasked with designing it. The coach he designed astonished his contemporaries, who deemed it “superb, unique and immense”. A veritable throne on wheels, laden with the emblems of royalty, this Berlin did not escape Revolutionary ire: it was condemned for destruction by the Convention in 1794, as a "monstrous assemblage of the gold of the people and the excess of flattery”. Can we see this action as Robespierre’s revenge? An engraving by Jean-Louis Prieur, who produced the bronzes that decorated it, hands a glimpse of it down to us, as does a miraculously saved door panel.
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