The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Friday 13 June 2008

A real 17th century carriage

This is a 'Gala Coupé' carriage from the seventeenth century that is in a museum in Brussels. Could a good coachman steer one of these into the gate of a Richelieu 'hôtel particulier', or were the entry gates more for farm carts than grandiose sets of wheels like these?  Probably it would be more at home at the château fore-courts with their larger turning circles.  In the period of The Three Musketeers it was thought effeminate for a gentleman to travel by coach as he should be in the saddle - hence the high boots of the cavalier's outfit.  The unspeakable but dainty Madame de Winter in contrast travels by coach. It was only in the era of Louis XIV that the manly riding boot gave way to the dinky court pump and silken stocking of Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte.  The authentic booted cavalier's costume below dates from 1630.

1 comment:

Susan said...

They may have spurned the dainty coach, but real men still wore the most exquisite lace in vast quantities. That museum in Brussels is well worth a visit, btw, but very few people seem to do so.

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