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Court Sleds

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Court Sleds

Louis XV’s court sleds, called the “Chinese” and “Mermaid” sleds, treasures of the Coach Museum at the Grand Stables at Versailles, are in need of complete restoration.

"Mermaid" sled

"Chinese" sled

The sled collection at the Coach Museum

One of the vaulted galleries of the Grand Stables at the Palace of Versailles is home to the Coach Museum, created in 1851 to bring together the collection gathered by King Louis Philippe in 1837. It notably holds Court Berlin carriages, all of which were involved in important events in the History of France, and a rare collection of six royal sleds produced around 1740 during the reign of Louis XV.

Starting at the end of the 17th century, the court at Versailles adopted a fad that came from the Nordic courts: sled races. Drawn by a horse with spiked horseshoes and driven by a court gentleman who played the role of coachman seated in the rear, these frail, luxurious vehicles crisscrossed the snowy walks of the Park and the ice-covered Grand Canal.

Detail of the "Chinese" sled

The "Chinese" and "Mermaid" sleds

The "Chinese" sled. With its sculpted dolphins supporting the gondola-shaped body, its painted “Chinese” panels surrounded by gilded wood garlands and its original 18th-century fittings – velvet in three colours – this sled is one of the most remarkable in the collection. It is being shown in the China at Versailles exhibition.

The "Mermaid" sled. This conch shell-shaped sled suggests the conch of the Triton represented as a bearded person crowned with reeds at the ends of the side rails. A mermaid, who is very beautiful in keeping with the myth, adorns the bow. These motifs, such as the garlands and the bows around the body, are all sculpted in wood.

Detail of the "Mermaid" sled




Complete restorations

The work will concern the structure, the painted pictorial layer and the gilding on the body and the side rails, the fabric on the seats and the leather and metal elements.

Restoration budget:
€50,000 for each sled

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