Small cabriolets for the small ones

Children's Cabriolets in the collection of the National Coach Museum

Children's Cabriolets - National Museum of CoachesNational Coach Museum

The National Coach Museum presents some small cabriolets and riding equipment used by little princes and children during the 19th century.
Usually pulled by ponies, donkeys, sheep or goats, this promenade vehicles were used predominantly for strolls around the palace gardens.

Temporary Exhibition - Promenade Vehicles for the Young Princes (photo) (2010) by National Coach Museum. Old Royal Riding SchollNational Coach Museum

At the time, many of this children's cabriolets were ordered for prestige gifts, presenting, for this reason, a high artistic, technical and artistic value. A few were equipped with safety features to protect those they carry and prevent accidents.

Carriage for children - Prince Charles Carriage for children - Prince Charles (19th century, last quarter) by UknouwnNational Coach Museum

Of particular importance is the carriage offered to Prince Charles of Portugal (Carlos) by the King of Italy Vittorio Emmanuel II.

Portrait of Prince Charles (19th century, 3rd quarter) by Henri de l’ Aubepin Le Lieure (1831-1914)National Palace of Ajuda

Prince Charles

This offer happened in 1868 when the Prince was only five years of age. Prince Charles went on his second trip overseas to Turin to meet his maternal grandparents and attend the wedding of Prince Humberto de Saboia. The Prince travelled in the company of his mother, the Queen Maria Pia de Sabóia, wife of King D. Luís. As a souvenir from that trip to Turin, Prince Charles was given by his grandfather Vittorio Emanuel II, King of Italy, his first carriage and its saddles.

Carriage for children - Prince CharlesNational Coach Museum

Prince Charles' carriage

19th century (1868). Italian work. Promenade vehicle for children, Italian built by Cesare Sala for Millan, the carriage has an open body and imitates, on a small scale, the vehicles of adults. It is equally refined in the smallest details, having monogram of Prince Charles, crown-shaped knobs and folding steps. The body is suspended by C-shaped, steel springs.

Vittorio Emanuele II (1867) by Cesare BernieriThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

King Vittorio Emanuel II 

Among the set of pieces offered by the King Vittorio Emanuel II (1820-1878) to his grandson Prince Charles of Portugal stand out some pieces for equipping horses, such as a harness for children's riding, a children's saddle and a small kerchief.

‏‏‎ ‏‏Harness for children's riding - halteNational Coach Museum

Harness for children's riding

This group is comprised of headgear, bridle, curb chain and reins for a child. Some pieces are engraved with the manufacturers mark Shipley Sadler, Regent Street, London.

‏‏‎ Children saddle chairNational Coach Museum

Saddle Chair

The little princes were also educated in the art of chivalry. This little saddle served for the young princes to begin their formation and integrated a set of harness for children's riding by King Vittorio Emanuel II in 1868 to his grandson Prince Charles of Portugal.

The saddle displays on the back leather flap a silver medallion with the crowned initial C (of Prince Charles).

Saddle cloth (detail) (19th century, 3rd quarter) by Shiphey Sadler Regent StreetNational Coach Museum

Small kerchief

Here we can see a dark blue wool kerchief produced in Shipley Regent Street in London. This kerchief is decorated with the crowned monogram of Prince Charles. The kerchief was also given by King Vittorio Emanuel II in 1868 to his grandson Prince Charles of Portugal during the same trip to Turin.

Phaeton for Children (19th century) by UnknownNational Coach Museum

Children's cabriolets in the National Coach Museum

In addition to the carriage of Prince Charles, the permanent exhibition of the Museu Nacional dos Coches / National Coach Museum displays other four cabriolets for children, which are visible in the picture and the following slides.

Cabriolet for children Cabriolet for childrenNational Coach Museum

Cabriolet for a child

19th century (1875-1900), Portuguese work. Open body made of woven straw, upholstered in padded green leather, with a seatbelt for one passenger and a small coachman's seat. The footstep to enter the vehicle hangs from the body's lower brace.This vehicle belonged to Princes Charles and Afonso, sons of King D. Luís of Portugal (1838-1889).

‏‏‎ Milord for childrenNational Coach Museum

Millord for children

19th century (1850-60), Portuguese work. Promenade vehicle for a child, it has a hight coachman's seat. The body is painted in dark blue, edged in white outlines with the Royal Coat of Arms on the doors. The interior is upholstered in red capitonné and has a safety belt on the passenger seat. According to the museum's archives, this Milord was used by the children of Queen D. Maria II of Portugal (1819-53).

‏‏‎ Phaeton for childrenNational Coach Museum

Phaeton for children

19th century (1850-60), English work. According to tradition, this little "Phaéton" was used by the children of the queen D. Maria II when they were children. It seats two children and their servant, behind them. It displays small royal crowns on the side panels on the rear. The interior is upholstered in dark blue felt and the floor is covered in carpets with floral motifs. The phaeton was pulled by ponies.

‏‏‎ Cabriolet for childrenNational Coach Museum

Cabriolet for children

19th-20th century (1890-1900), French work. Promenade vehicle for children, used by the royal family. It has an open body made of woven straw, lined padded green leather, with one passenger seat. The suspension is made of elliptical springs and integrated into the wheels. The stirrup to access the vehicle hangs from the body's lower flange.

Queen Maria Pia with Princes Carlos and Afonso (19th century, last quarter) by Emilio BielNational Palace of Ajuda

One episode regarding the princes and their carriages...

One day, prince Afonso insisted with the Queen's coach man to drive his little vehicle. The prince was so eager to make the carriage go as fast as possible that the coach man lost control as the carriage was going towards a ditch. To save the prince from an accident the coachman flung the prince onto a mount of grass out the vehicle himself... 

Credits: Story

Texts: silvana Bessone / Teresa Abreu
Translation: Luís Ramos Pinto
Vídeo: Gilliard Bressan / Nuno Augusto
Collection: National Coach Museum; National Ajuda Palace

- GUIDE NATIONAL COACH MUSEUM - A unique collection worldwide which tranSports us in time; coord. Silvana Bessone, SEC/DGPC/MNC, Lisbon, Portugal, 2015
ISBN 978-989-8456-80-9

- NATIONAL COACH MUSEUM GUIDE; coord. Silvana Bessone, MC/IPM/MNC, Lisbon, Portugal, 2002
ISBN: 972-776-136-4

- A EDUCAÇÃO DOS PRÍNCIPES NO PAÇO DA AJUDA [1863-1884]; Carmina Correia Guedes; dir. e coord. Isabel Silveira Godinho, MC/IPPAR/PNA, Lisboa: Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, Portugal, 2004
ISBN 972-8736-83-5

All rights belong to the National Coach Museum of Costume in Portugal unless otherwise stated.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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