Perch High Phaeton


Published 1962 © Hugh Evelyn Limited; artist Alan Osbahr;
c. 34 x 24 cm (13″ x 9″) on high white matt cardstock of 115 g/m²;
Shown here is a scan of the print.
This is a STANDARD sized print; see mail costs at Shipping & Returns.
Detail below

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An open, four-wheeled, doorless carriage, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. It contained one or two seats, usually had a folding, or falling, top, and was owner-driven (it had no outside driver’s seat). The most spectacular phaeton was the English four-wheeled high-flyer, the body of which consisted of a light seat for two, resting atop two sets of springs and reached by ladder, very much alike that shown in our image. It was from one of these that the rising poet Thomas Warwick was thrown to his death near the fashionable town of Bath during the 1780’s.  The spider phaeton, of American origin, was a light vehicle made for gentlemen drivers. Queen Victoria was particularly associated with the phaeton and there are prints and photos of her driving in them both before and throughout her reign. Its openness put her in danger and there were assassination attempts made on her life while in one by Edward Oxford in 1840 and by Henry Holford in 1846. In her later years she enjoyed travelling in a phaeton drawn by a single donkey or mule, and there are examples of this type in the Royal Collection. Another was put to use by Queen Elizabeth II each June from 1978 to 2011 during the official Queen’s Birthday celebrations, when she travelled to and from Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards Parade in an ivory-mounted phaeton carriage made in 1842 for her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Felton’s Description

A Phaeton with a perch carriage may be built on a larger scale than if with a crane  A neck, and not be so heavy; the advantage of turning is not so great, yet the safety is  greater, as the perch prevents the fore carriage from locking so far under as in crane  necks, whereby the danger of over-turning is avoided, by having a large base for the fore-wheels to stand on. As the danger arises from the situation of the body being directly over the  bearings of the fore axletrees, and when those bearings are removed to a parallel with the  centre of the carriage, as in crane neck carriages they are, it then depends only on the chance of  even ground, or that the weight of the body and passengers does not preponderate over the  weight of the hind part of the carriage; the longer the carriage, the greater is the safety, by the  space being wider between the bearings. 

The Carriage is a perch with the sides plated with iron, a whole wheel Front, a square Trunk Boot, hind and fore spring blocks, a hind Platform raised with blocks, Straked Wheels, com­mon Axletrees, and boxes. The Body, a long tail chair back, with sham doors and sword case, lined with second cloth, and trimmed with 2-inch Lace, a square fixed head, lined with second cloth, a large fixed Knee Boot, a sliding Seat Box, and a treble Folding Step for occasional use. The Plating with silver, a half inch moulding round the Sham Doors, the front and back of the Head, and on the Knee Boot at bottom, and round the sides of the Trunk Boot; a pair of Sword Case half frames, and fancy device Head Plates. The Painting picked out two colours, with a rich Fillet round the Pannels, the arms on the back, and Crests on the side Pannels and Footboard painted small, the Main and Check Braces common a pair of cross Check Braces, and English po1e pieces. First charge for a Large Perch Phaeton £47 19s 6d. [William Fenton, 1789]

First charge for a large perch Phaeton£47196
The sides of the perch plated with iron2100
A whole wheel front250
A square trunk boot550
A hind platform raised with blocks1100
A pair of hind spring blocks440
A pair of fore ditto100
Sham doors0150
A sword case1100
A square fixed head lined with cloth1000
A knee boot fixed on the Footboard240
A treble folding, or hanging step330
Thirty feet of plated moulding376
A pair of half sword case frames060
A set of fancy device head plates150
The painting of the body and carriage picked out one colour156
japanning the doors and sword case0106
Twenty-six feet of rich fillet painted round the pannels350
The arms on the back, and crests on the side pannels and footboard, painted small0140

Additional information

Dimensions 38 × 25.5 cm