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Summary of Pony Phaeton
Pony Phaetons were driven by ladies around parks and estates. They are lightweight elegant little carriages for use in fine weather. Some would be fitted with a hood in case of a chilly breeze or strong sunlight. The Phaetons that were used by Queen Victoria had very large dash boards as she specifically stated that she did not wish to see the pony’s bottom.
There are a number of carriages in the Tyrwhitt-Drake Carriage Museum that belong to the Royal Collection. Three are Pony Phaetons that were used by Queen Victoria. This particular one was owned by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyle. It was built by Passmore of Windsor for use on the Windsor Castle estate.
Height: 4ft 1”
Length: 8ft 8”
Such phaetons were used for taking rides around estates and parks driven by a lady and drawn by a single or pair of ponies. Built around 1850 this carriage would have been used on the Windsor Castle estate by members of the Royal family. It is a very pretty little carriage with a lovely profile and built to be pulled by a single pony.
The seat of the body is covered in sham cane which is painted cream. The front edges of the seat have curved iron grab handles with little knobs to attach an apron. The leather apron is still in situ and is backed with a light buff colour canvas. On the offside of the seat is a winding handle for the break. It has a turned wood knob painted black. The seat itself is upholstered in black wool cloth with the upper part being buttoned. There are two seat cushions. The top edges of the seat arms are covered in leather which is very worn. In the corner of the seat on the offside is a leather whip holder.
The footwell slopes down before rising back up to support a large leather dash board whichis on quite an elaborate shape, curving outwards towards the top and with rounded corners. It also has an S shaped profile. On the top edge of the dashboard is a high rein rail.
To each side of the Phaeton are steam bent wood splash guards with elegant profiles. The front and back splash guards meet at a step in the middle just below the footwell. The iron step has a square tread and its attached via a bracket bolted to the underside of the body of the carriage.
The wheels are 10 and 12 spoke English pattern with iron tyres on collinge patent axles. The axles are straight. On each axle cap the maker Passmore of Windsor is stamped. The carriage is sprung on elliptic springs to the front and back.
The fore carriage is a pretty as the rest of the carriage. It is fine in its construction, and has scroll ended dumb irons. There are fitting for a pair of independent shafts which are displayed alongside the Phaeton. The shafts have leather served ends, tug stops and breeching staples.
The under carriage, wheels, splash guards and edges of the body panels are painted black with green lining. The body panels are painted cream.
On the axle caps: PASSMORE ? WINDSOR
This carriage itself is in relatively good order. There are some areas of missing paintwork on the wheels. The upholstery is worn and the leather apron is fragile.
This Pony Phaeton is in the care of the Tyrwhitt-Drake Carriage Museum
Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery
St Faith's Street,
Maidstone Musuem and Bentliff Art Gallery / Amy Bracey / Robert Lovell