Monday, June 17, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: Queen Charlotte’s Sedan Chair, 1763

Sedan Chair
Samuel Vaughan, 1763
Oak, Leather, Gilt Metal, Glass
and Silk
The Royal Collection
As was befitting the wife of King George III, Queen Charlotte preferred to be carried around in a Sedan Chair—a task for which she kept four strong men on retainer for many years. While, I can’t imagine that riding in a chair being carried by four men would be the smoothest means of transportation, there is something undeniably regal about it.

This particular chair was purchased along with a simpler model—both created in 1763 by Samuel Vaughan of the Piccadilly firm of Vaughan, Holmes, Griffin & Co. This chair is particularly fine with glass windows and beautiful ornamental metal work. Covered in red Moroccan leather, the chair’s gilt ornamentation depicts the Lion and Unicorn of Britain along with a variety of other symbolic mythological scenes.

Queen Charlotte used the chair until her death after which it was bequeathed to the Duke of Teck. In 1883, Queen Victoria purchased the chair so that it would remain in The Royal Collection.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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