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Listed in 1 collection
Listed at 1 museum
Listed for 1 maker
Date of Production
Accession or Inventory Number
Materials usedPaint, Wood, Iron, Leather, Wool Box Cloth, Brass, Silk
Summary of Travelling Chariot
The Anglesey Travelling Chariot is one of the earliest in the collection at Arlington Court dating from around 1815. This date can be derived by certain features such as the grease axles and the whip springs.
Travelling Chariots were used for long journeys across England and on the Grand Tour of Europe. When on long journeys they were postillion driven with horses and ‘post boys’ that were hired at inns along the way. This example has an interesting feature in what is known as a dormeuse boot. Inside are panels that can be moved to enable the occupants to stretch their legs out and sleep whilst on a long journey. Queen Victoria is known to have slept in her Travelling Chariot, which was originally built for King George IV, when it was being transported on the railway from London to Balmoral.
Many Travelling Chariots were used for town use as well. The rumble seat at the back could be removed revealing a platform that two footmen from the household would stand on and a coachman’s seat fitted to the front enabling him to drive a pair or team of horses rather than them be postillion driven. The Anglesey Chariot has provisions for both town and travelling use.
The carriage is believed to have been owned by the Marquis of Anglesey. It was donated to The National Trust in 1964 by the Marquis of Bute who acquired it in the 1930’s. The restoration by the National Trust in the 1970’s saw the carriage put back to the livery colours of the Marquis of Anglesey.
Height: 7ft5 ¼”
Length: 12ft12 ¾”
Width: 5ft 9¾”
Front wheel diameter: 3ft 2 ½”
Rear wheel diameter: 4ft 5”
The shape of the body of this carriage is as one would expect for an early 19thcentury Travelling Chariot with a short dormeuse boot (an area that enables the occupants to put their feet and lie flat inside the carriage) and a sword case on the back. On the upper back panel are iron staples, two each side for the footman’s holders to be attached and used when the Chariot was dressed for town use. There are two straps surviving made of leather and red (?) webbing. The broadlace straps that were used for decoration are missing. Also on the back panel, to each side of the sword case, are iron fittings for the attachment of sway straps (missing). Leather covers the upper panels, the roof and the sword case. The upper and lower panels are edged in brass beading that is painted black.
Each door is mounted on triple butt hinges and have brass oval loop handles. They can be locked from the outside via a budget lock situated in the upper door panels. One door retains its lowering window, framed in a once black velvet now faded to brown in most places. To the front are two lowering windows also framed in once black velvet. There is a small rectangular window light in the back panel with brass beading around the edge.
Under the dormeuse boot and sweeping upwards is a leather dash board. Leather covered imperials would have been stowed in the gap between the dashboard and the front of the body of the Chariot. At the front of the carriage are provisions for a coachman’s seat to be fitted for town use, it is currently configured for travelling with no coachman’s seat leaving an area for the stowage of luggage. To the back is a rumble seat for two servants, a valet and a maid. The seat has double seat rails to the side and triple at the back. The back and sides are covered in smooth black leather with in the seat cushion and seat back in the same leather only buttoned. The cushion is edged with a red and gold seaming lace. There is a seat drop of black leather edged with red broadlace, this covers a stowage area for the servant’s luggage. The seat has a leather skirt with brass beading. It can be removed revealing a leather platform for footmen to stand on when in town use. Leather sway straps are buckled through iron fittings on the bottom edge of the body and on the perch of the Chariot.
To access the carriage are double folding steps served with black leather, carpet and red and gold seaming lace. When a coachman’s seat is in place the steps mounted to the fore carriage that sit half way up the Whip springs could be used to mount the carriage. They consist of a rectangular jagged tread with a hole in the centre in the shape of a figure of eight. At the back are two steps with rectangular jagged treads and rounded corners. They are bolted to the near side of the hind spring bed.
The carriage body is supported on curved dumb irons to leather straps on Whip springs. At the front an extension runs from the dumb irons to the front boot adding support. The compassed down perch joins the close futchell fore carriage which has nicely finished scroll fiddle ends to the hind carriage. It has a hook for the drag shoe chain, the hook for hanging the drag shoe is missing. The splinter bar differs slightly form the norm in that it has two areas that are turned. Outer roller bolts have oval jagged plate tops for use as steps and inner ones have leather served tops.
The wheels are secured on common grease axles with square nuts and linch pins. The front axle is straight and the rear compassed up. To the front are 12 spoke English pattern wheels and 14 spoke to the rear, all iron shod.
This Chariot retains its original lamps sitting in iron brackets bolted to the front corner edge of the body of the Chariot. They are rectangular with single tier chimneys and can be lifted in their brackets and turned 180 degrees so that the glass is on the inside, preventing damage when they are not in use. They have a simple loop on the top for carrying.
Inside this chariot is a delight with a beautiful interior of cream/gold and red striped silk. The colour on the buttoned side and rear panels and on the seat cushions has remained fairly vibrant but it has faded to brown on the seat back. A neat little buttoned squab covers the rear window. Covering the roof, front panel and the doors is a brown wool cloth. The red worsted broadlace carries a scrolling floral motif. This forms the swing holders (which are leather backed) and surrounds the door pockets and the roof edge. Red and gold seaming lace edges the seat cushions, fringes in the same colours finish the swing holders and the window glass strings. One pink Venetian blind still hangs at the nearside door the rest are missing. Covering the floor is a pink and maroon wool carpet.
The Chariot has been repainted in fairly recent years. Upper panels and the boots are black with the lower panels, the front and mid panels and the door frame painted very dark brown. The front side panels, under carriage and wheels are painted yellow.The wheels, springs and under carriage are lined with red and brown. A coat of arms is painted on the door panels.
Engraved on the plate on the bottom louver of nearside venetian blind: HOW & SHANKS GREATQUEEN St
On the rear axle: S.GOODBODY & CO. LON
This Traveling Chariot is in the care of The National Trusts Arlington Court
The National Trust / Amy Bracey / Robert Lovell