Biedermeier calèche

Northern Switzerland, ca. 1810
H 220 cm, W 144 cm, L 255 cm
Inv. 1982.88.

The calèche was a very common type of coach in the early Biedermeier period. Its removable front and side panels and collapsible hood allowed it to be converted into an open coach for rides about town in a matter of minutes. The advent of the railways in the mid-19th century led to the gradual disappearance of horse-drawn carriages designed for travelling long distances. The body of the calèche is suspended by leather straps on C springs – in those days a state-of-the-art suspension – and has two inside seats plus an extra seat at the front. Its features include a pull-out trunk beneath the seats and a hidden compartment for storing valuables built into each side. Larger items of luggage could be strapped onto the luggage rack at the rear.

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