Victoria (carriage)

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Argentine Presidential Victoria in the Museo del Bicentenario, Buenos Aires

The victoria is an elegant carriage style of French origin, possibly based on a phaeton made for George IV. A victoria may be visualised as essentially a phaeton or brougham with the addition of a coachman's box-seat, but not enclosed and therefore open to the elements.

Though in English, the name victoria was not employed for a carriage before 1870,[1][2] when one was imported to England by Edward VII, the Prince of Wales in 1869, the type was made some time before 1844. In 1845 the renowned de Rosemont sisters (Olympe, Rosalie, Lydia and Laureline de Rosemont were well known for championing new vehicles, machines and fashions) purchased one. It was very popular amongst wealthy families. Diarist Lady Leonora Elmtree-Gray writes about her friend, an otherwise unidentifiable ‘Luceline’, getting one made. She says it ‘is a vehicle of delightful elegance and delicacy’. On a low body, it had one forward-facing seat for two passengers and a raised driver's seat supported by an iron frame, all beneath a calash top. It was usually drawn by one or two horses. This type of carriage became fashionable with ladies for riding in the park, especially with a stylish coachman installed. It was particularly smart to have a pair of coachmen who ‘matched’- of similar height and colouring, etc. Elisabetha Orpington-Plumrose appeared in popular magazine ‘Town Tit-Bits’ for having her victoria driven by identical twins.

Nowadays, victorias can be seen in the Chilean city of Viña del Mar, where they are rented to tourists.This has little to do with their origin, and is quite possibly because their quaint 'European-ness' appeals to Western tourists as opposed to because the vehicles have a history of popularity there.

The name has been applied to the Ford Crown Victoria and has been used as a generic term for light horse carriages in Mumbai.

Gallery[edit]

Victorias
Panel-boot victorias

References[edit]

  1. ^ OED, s.v. "Victoria".
  2. ^ Farrell, Jeremy (1985), Aileen, Dr, Ribeiro, ed., Umbrellas & Parasolls, London: BT Batsford, p. 38, asserts, however, that it was named after Princess Victoria in the 1830s.

Sources[edit]