Stagecoaches did not only transport the mail but also were the most important means of traveling for people from the 17th to the end of the 19th century. After the construction of roads in the 18th and 19th century, the average traveling speed of stagecoaches was approximately 6 miles per hour. The horses had to be replaced about every 12 miles. This gave travelers the opportunity to recover from the uncomfortable journey in guest houses at mail and horse stations.
Spitzweg created the first version of the painting The Arrival of the Stagecoach for Kaiser Ferdinand of Austria. In an unconventional format he succeeded in rendering a complex scene, showing not only the arrival of the stagecoach but also the hustle and bustle in a city by focusing on the happening at the central market well. Three horses are forcefully drawing the coach with four passengers, coming out of an alley and on to the sunny market place. The postman is reining the horses and blowing his horn, announcing their arrival to the inhabitants of the city although about twenty of them are already there to witness the scene. Except a young woman who is watering flowers to the right, all of them are watching the arrival and have stopped doing what they did, whether that was work or leisure. Most of the figures that Spitzweg decoratively added to the scene are women of various social strata. At the fountain with the badly damaged figure that has lost its head and hands, young servants are fetching water. To their right, two elegant ladies in fashionable and expensive dresses sit in leisure. One of them is holding a small umbrella to protect herself from the sun—white skin was of utmost importance—and a book. Her dress is indigo blue; perhaps she bought the material from the dyer who is standing at the window to the left and has just hung out blue dyed cloth to dry. One of Spitzweg's favorite figures, the keeper of the order, is there too. In a beautiful uniform and with an austere look, he watches the arrival of the coach.