Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Coaches of Versailles

A sketch of Louis XVI's coronation coach
There is a remarkable new exhibit at Versailles about the various kinds of conveyances used by the royal family, including the coronation coach of Louis XVI. To quote:
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.

The palace website provides more information, including detailed articles on:

Louis XVI’s coronation coach

Carriages and Berlin coaches

Driving a coach

Children’s coaches


No comments: