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Summary of Landau
A Landau of standard shape and proportions for a team of four horses, with a folding leather hood, Salisbury boot, coachman’s seat with hammer cloth and a footman’s platform at the back. Painted in blue on the body with a red and gold undercarriage. The interior is upholstered in blue silk.
This Landau is a beautifully built carriage that was once in the Royal Household. It was originally built for the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria and would have been used by him at formal or state occasions. In 1954 the carriage was presented to Maidstone Borough Council for use on civic occasions by Lord Bossom, who was mayor of Maidstone from 1931 to 1959.
Height: 7ft6 ½”
Length: 14ft 10”
Width: 5ft 10 ½”
The body is of a standard State Landau form with curved underside and supported by the leather braces from the C springs by serpent head dumb irons. The two folding leather heads are supported by brass head irons with a roundel with a floral design at the joint.
At the front is a Salisbury boot mounted on the forecarriage. The coachman’s footboard is attached to the Salisbury boot and has grooved edges and supports that are very nicely carved with an acanthus leaf design. On the underside of the footboard is a brass plaque with an inscription. The coachman’s seat is accessed by a step mounted on the C spring with an oval jagged plate. The outer roller bolts have jagged surfaces for use as steps.
At the back is a footman’s platform mounted by a very elegantly designed step consisting of a central step with two curved sides and two straight sides supported and attached to the hind carriage. From the front edge a curved bracket extends upwards on both sides of the central step to finish in two almost circular jagged steps. The pump handles extend from the rear of the platform and curve upwards, elegantly, to attach to the standards. The standards and cross bar are carved with acanthus leaf decoration at the joints and in the centre of the cross bar.
The doors are hung on concealed hinges with cast brass handles with a design of interlacing acanthus leaf and twisted cord tendrils. In the centre is a roundel surmounted by the crown of a Royal with alternating Maltese crosses and strawberry leaves, in the centre is a crown surmounted by a lion surrounded by the motto ‘HONI.SOIT.QUI.MAL.YPEWSE’ and a shamrock. Each door has a lowering window. There is a large lowering rectangular window in the front of the leather head.
Folding steps allow access to the inside of the Landau. They are covered on the vertical sides in a beautiful blue silk with leaf design and edged with blue broadlace with an oak leaf design. Black leather covers the joints of the steps
This Landau retains its original single tier chimney candle lamps. They are elaborately decorated with shamrocks and thistles cast around the top and bottom and garlands of fruits interspersed with acorns. On the top sits a Royal crown. Inside is a cut glass bowl and on the candle holder the makers name is engraved. They are fixed lamps with brackets mounted on the front of the body of the carriage.
The wheels are 12 and 14 spoke English pattern with iron tyres on collinge axles. Both front and rear axles are slightly compassed down and the perch is compassed to match the outline of the body of the Landau. The closed futchell forecarriage has a splinter bar that is again carved with foliate designs and has leather served roller bolts. A drag shoe is fitted, its chains are leather served.
Sprung on hefty C springs with a ratchet to tighten them and elliptic springs (eight sprung). The leather braces buckle with a cast brass buckle with a design of fruit and flower garlands. The buckles on the sway braces match.
The body of this Landau has been repainted in recent times in bright blue. The edges of the body, the window surrounds and the serpent head dumb irons are painted gold. The Salisbury boot and the underside of the body is painted black. Wheels, forecarriage, hindcarriage, elliptic springs, perch and pole are red with gold and black lining. The C springs are painted gold. On each side panel is the Maidstone City Arms, Traces of the Royal coat of arms can be seen through the blue paint.
The hammer cloth has a red box cloth ground with gold broadlace with an oak leaf design and gold swags, trims tassels and drops. A blue silk insert is in the side panels. Inside the carriage is upholstered in a beautiful Royal blue silk with foliate design. The side panels and seat cushions are buttoned. Blue broadlaces have an oak leaf design and blue fringes. A blue silk roller blind is fitted to the window at the front and has gold tassels. The heaven is also covered with patterned silk. A plain blue carpet covers the floor (modern?).
Beautifully carved bone internal furniture with acorn motifs.
Maidstone City arms on the door panels
On the axle caps: LONDON HOLMES DERBY
On a brass plaque on the underside of the footboard:
FORMALLY THE PROPERTY OF HRH THE DUKEOF CONNAUGHT
PRESENTED TO THE
ANCIENT BOROUGH OF MAIDSTONE
FOR THE USE OF HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR
BY SIR ALFRED BOSSOM BART
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE
DECEMBER 18TH 1954
On the candle holders of the lamps: J BARLOWQUEEN STREET OXFORD STREET LONDON
This is the only carriage that is still used within the collection. All of its component parts seem sound. The interior and hammer cloth are in excellent condition with no sign of pest damage or mould growth. The paintwork all appears to be stable.
It would be a good idea to have a clear cover made for the hammer cloth to reduce dust soiling the materials.
This Landau is in the care of the Tyrwhitt-Drake Carriage Museum.
Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery
St Faith's Street,
Maidstone Museum/Amy Bracey