Barouche

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A barouche was a type of horse-drawn carriage fashionable in the 19th century. It was used mainly for travel in the summer, though it had a retractable cover for some protection from the weather. The barouche was based on an earlier style of carriage, the calash.

Etymology[edit]

The word barouche is an anglicisation of the German word barutsche, via the Italian baroccio or biroccio and ultimately from the Latin birotus, "two-wheeled". The name thus became a misnomer, as the later form of the carriage had four wheels.

Description and variations of the barouche[edit]

A barouche

The barouche, used in the 19th century, was a four-wheeled, shallow vehicle with two double seats inside, arranged vis-à-vis, so that the sitters on the front seat faced those on the back seat. It had a soft collapsible half-hood folding like a bellows over the back seat and a high outside box seat in front for the driver. The entire carriage was suspended on C springs and used leather straps to connect parts. It was drawn by a pair of high-quality horses and was used principally for leisure driving in the summer. A light barouche was a barouchet or barouchette. A barouche-sociable was described as a cross between a barouche and a victoria.

The barouche-landau is a form of carriage mentioned in Emma published in 1816 by Jane Austen. It "combines the best features of a barouche and a landau."[1] The structure of the carriage is heavier than it looks, because of the lack of a rigid roof structure. An illustration of the expensive and more rarely seen vehicle, on account of the expense, is shown in a paper by Ed Ratcliffe, citing editor R. W. Chapman's collection of the works of Jane Austen, in the volume Minor Works, as noted in Ratcliffe's sources.[1]

Royal Barouche in London, 2009.

Barouches can be seen in the 21st century, as replicas of the carriages of an earlier time, in many places around the world.

Calash[edit]

A two-wheeled calash
A four-wheeled calash to be drawn by a pair (Podstreda Castle)
A Philippine kalesa.

The barouche followed from an earlier carriage. The earlier carriage type, called calash or calèche, was also a light carriage with small wheels, inside seats for four passengers, a separate driver's seat and a folding top. A folding calash top was a feature of two other types: the chaise, a two-wheeled carriage for one or two persons, a body hung on leather straps or thorough-braces, usually drawn by one horse; and a victoria, a low four-wheeled pleasure carriage for two with a raised seat in front for the driver.

In Quebec, Canada, calèche refers to a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle with or without a folding top and with a driver's seat on the splashboard.[2]

In the Philippines, the kalesa is a one-horse descendant of Spanish Colonial calashes, and is a common sight in older cities such as Manila and Vigan.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ratcliffe, Ed (2012). "Transports of Delight: How Jane Austen's Characters Got Around". The Inkwell. Menlo Park, California: Jane Austen Society of North America. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Musée McCord Museum - Caleche, Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City, QC, about 1920. McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montreal, Quebec.

External links[edit]