Royal sleigh with a gilded lion, called 'L'Élan'

Royal sleigh with a gilded lion, called 'L'Élan'
Carrossier Binder Frères
Paris (France)
Walnut, silk and iron: 161 x 269 x 154 cm
Inv. TR.1

A vehicle for leisure promenades, rather than of true utility in Belgium, sleighs were depicted many times in painting as an indispensable accessory for winter amusements. Warmly wrapped in furs and sheepskin, passengers travelled the snowy roads to the sound of the sleigh bells attached around the horses' necks. Sleighs were often manifestations of the builders' teeming imagination. In decorating the body, inspiration was drawn from nature, fantasy and the repertory of heraldry. On this example, the crowns that adorn the shell-shaped passenger compartment, the leonine iconography and the name 'L'Élan' written in red under the body enable us to ascribe it a royal provenance. Remarkable for both the use of luxury materials and the refined execution, this conveyance was made by the Binder carriage builders, founders of one of the seven firms that represented this industry in Paris in the second half of the 19th century.

Discover this masterpiece in our galleries, on the online museum catalogue Carmentis and in the book Masterpieces of the Cinquantenaire Museum.