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Carriages of the Princes von Thurn und Taxis

In April 2007 seventeen important carriages from the stables of the Princes von Thurn und Taxis at Regensburg moved to Vienna as permanent loans to the Kunsthistorische Museum’s Wagenburg (Collection of Imperial Carriages). After several weeks of conservation measures they will be on show to the public from September 19th, 2007 as part of the exhibition “Pomp and Gloria! Carriages of the Princes von Thurn und Taxis” at the Wagenburg.

Of particular interest are the luxury carriages ordered by Prince Maximilian Karl in Vienna in the early nineteenth century – among them a gala-carriage commissioned from the celebrated coach-builder, Brandmayer (who also worked for the Pope and the Turkish Sultan), and an elaborately decorated “afternoon-carriage” made by the Viennese coachbuilder, Engl. Engl also built a simpler carriage for morning drives but this has sadly not survived.

Another high-point of the show are the carriages built in 1858 for Princess Helene in Bavaria. Helene was to the first bride of the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. Four years after his decision to marry her younger sister, Elisabeth, she became the wife of Hereditary Prince Maximilian Anton von Thurn und Taxis. The exhibition marks the first time that the carriages built for the two celebrated sisters are shown together.

The largest group of carriages, however, once belonged to Princess Margarete, a daughter of the Hungarian Paladin, Archduke Joseph. In 1890, she married Prince Albert I von Thurn und Taxis. Throughout her life she remained close to the Imperial court, and a special train was always ready at the station in Regensburg for the family’s trips to Vienna. The eccentric princess, who also painted and sculpted, acquired numerous carriages in Vienna, among them such strange objects as a litter on wheels, and a two-wheeled open huntingcarriage with a cage under its seat to hold the accompanying hunting dogs. Thus the exhibition offers a lively and impressive survey of courtly life and the art of driving in by-gone days. In addition, it documents the close friendship that has connected Austria and Bavaria for any centuries.


19 September 2007
to 12 May 2008

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