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Coaches and Sledges

Minerva sleigh

Key data

Basle, Carrosserie Kauffmann, ca. 1890

Height 188 cm, width 117 cm, length 206 cm

Inv. 1933.223.


The unusually lavish sleigh, furnished in the Louis XV style, came to the Museum from the estate of Johann Jakob Bachofen-Petersen of Basle (1865-1904). The signature of the maker, "Carrosserie Eugene Kauffmann, Bale", appears inside the lamps. The sleigh bears the head of the Roman goddess Minerva on its runners; the neck of the figure merges below into a fabulous creature resembling a dolphin or a lion. The arm rests of the front seat are adorned with lions' heads. The gentleman drove the sleigh himself. A footman was carried on the groom's seat at the back. The richly decorated silver plated gala lamps provided illumination on night journeys. At an exhibition in Amsterdam in 1877, the Munich court coachbuilder F.P. Gmelch showed a sleigh remarkably similar to the Basle example. The similarity suggests that when Johann Jakob Bachofen Petersen ordered his Minerva sleigh from the Basle coachbuilder Kauffmann he used an illustration from the exhibition report in the Guide du Carrossier by Brice Thomas, Paris, as his pattern. The sleigh passed to the Fürstenberger family, whose arms appear on the body, in 1904.

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Basel Historical Museum
Management & administration
Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00

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