Coaches, Sleighs, and Sedan Chairs
A small collection of historically and artistically significant coaches, sleighs and sedan chairs from the late 17th and the 18th centuries have survived at the Prussian palaces. It represents the remaining inventory from the former collections of the royal stables in Berlin, holdings that repeatedly suffered substantial loss and damage as the result of historical events, most recently in 1945. The collection is displayed to the largest extent possible in the royal coach house at Paretz Palace , which was refurbished for its presentation in 2006.
Of note is Europe’s oldest surviving children’s coach, from 1690, which was once used by the electoral prince, Frederick William, and exhibits in its preserved, original condition all of the characteristics of a full-sized ceremonial coach. Coaches, sleighs, and sedan chairs were status symbols, as is illustrated by two magnificent sleighs from the era of Frederick III/I and several sedan chairs. A small open garden carriage belonging to Frederick II is remarkable for its precious fabrics.
The collection showpiece is the official coach built for Frederick William II by the Strasbourg master coach builders August Christian and Johann Christian Ginzrot in 1789. The royal carriage has also been known as the “Golden Coronation Coach” since 1861, when it was used at the crowning of William I. It was among the vehicles badly damaged in World War II and has now been restored.
The inventory is supplemented by three long-term loans from the Kunstgewerbemuseum SMB PK (Museum of Decorative Arts, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußiche Kulturbesitz), including an 18th century envoy’s coach designed by Johann Michael Hoppenhaupt and several utility vehicles, for example, a fire extinguisher wagon from the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin.
Dipl. phil. Claudia Meckel
Collection catalogue of the Coach Collection
Kutschen, Schlitten, Sänften
Bestandskataloge der Kunstsammlungen: Angewandte Kunst; Kutschen.
Herausgegeben von der Generaldirektion der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2013