A parade sleigh at the Pavillons de Bercy

At the museum

A new object has joined the museum’s company: an 18th century dragon-shaped sleigh !

With a wooden carved, painted and gilded dragon and its leather interior it is a true parade sleigh.

 

Sleigh ride were highly popular in northern Europe in the 18th century among the aristocracy. The elite enjoyed winter strolls on frozen lakes and snowy grounds. This very sleigh comes from the collection of the Mérode family and was formerly displayed in their castle in Tronchiennes.

This sleigh not without calling to mind the dragons, mermaids, unicorns and other fantastic beasts that were used as carousel figures in the 19th century.

As a matter of fact, fairs enabled the popularization of certain type of entertainment and transportation that were originally reserved to an elite such as horse riding and bicycles. Carousel makers were certainly inspired by the richly decorated sleigh and coaches to design parade gondolas and fancy carousel figures. It was a way to enable their contemporaries to escape and dream during a carousel ride.