Horse-drawn carriage heritage (1)

Under Law No. 92/1477 of 31 December 1992 on the export of cultural goods, including 13 in its category (collector's vehicles), all means of transport more than 75 years old and horse-drawn vehicles prior to World War II are now classified as cultural goods.

All these vintage horse-drawn vehicles constitute the horse-drawn carriage heritage. The most well-known portion of this heritage are the carriages used for passenger transport: ceremonial, travel, town, sports and leisure carriages.

Under the EU law of 1992 on the export of cultural goods, horse-drawn vehicles prior to World War II are now classified as cultural goods.

These carriages bear witness to:

  • the creativity of coachbuilders who have designed them, the talent of artists who created their decoration and the virtuosity of the craftsmen who executed them
  • the building know-how and techniques (woodwork, sculpture, painting, gilding, casting, chasing, wheelwright, ironwork, metalwork, saddlery, textile arts and passementerie...) necessary to put into play their many materials (wood, iron, steel, bronze, copper, textiles, leather, glass, shell, ivory...)
  • the technical progress in the field of locomotion
  • the development of decorative arts and fashion
  • the splendour of courtesan life, the luxury of the wealthy elite who owned them and the sports or social practices associated with their use.

 

From the reign of Louis XIV to the dawn of the 20th century, France, at times behind England on a technical level, remained the leader in horse-drawn carriage construction as the premier country in Europe for the beauty, elegance and luxury of its products. Parisian bodywork sets the tone: it is imitated and copied, but never rivalled.

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