Coach Building: A Scarce Group of c.1860s Framed Carriage Designs

Origin: English
Period: Mid Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1850-70
The Frames (each):
Height: 31.75 inches
Width: 9.5 inches
Depth: 1.75 inches

The pair of nineteenth century black painted frames containing a total of twelve hand coloured drawings each of various designs for broughams, cabriolets, chariots, curricles, landaus, phaetons, gigs etc believed to have been mounted to serve advertising vehicles available for hire from a Dorchester Inn in High East Street, most likely the Kings Arms, Coaching house, Dorchester.

The wholes are dusty, slightly spoiled and foxed, with some loss to one drawing, the others in a slightly tatty but sound state. They could be removed and cleaned professionally internally if so desired; we have only cleaned up the fronts, and the dirt to the glass was thick. Opening them may also lead one to finding out more about exactly who published the drawings but we would advise care. The chunky frames are unusually thick leading us to believe they were incorporated into the foyer hotel wall or porch as integral frames rather than being hung independently.

The Kings Arms in Dorchester’s High Steet East is a traditional coaching inn, the main one of the town, and it is highly probably that these drawings would have hung in this Inn.

An almost bewildering variety of horse-drawn carriages existed. By the early 19th century one's choice of carriage was only in part based on practicality and performance; it was also a status statement and subject to changing fashions. The Coronation year of 1838 was a year which marked an important epoch in the annals of coach-building with the celebrations for Queen Victoria giving rise to an enormous number of carriage commissions. Carriages and coaches began to disappear as use of steam propulsion began to generate more and more interest and research. Steam power quickly won the battle against animal power as is evident by a newspaper article written in England in 1895 entitled "Horseflesh vs. Steam".

Finely executed, graphically strong and of good provenance this pair prove both decoratively and intellectually appealing.