Museum complex


Craftsman: TM.Orlovskiy
Around 1847
Wood, iron, copper alloys, glass, silk, satin, velvet, wool, leather, golden threads, foil, sequins, lacquer, oil; joinery and plumbing, carving, forging, stamping, gilding, silvering, coloring, varnishing, sewing, embroidery
116 х 233 х 118 cm
Receipt: from the Furniture Museum (Moscow), 1926
Open storage

The carriage is a miniature copy of the court ceremonial carriage-coupe of the middle of the XIX Century. Yet at the same time it is a real vehicle for children. It was made in 1847 in Moscow by carriage-maker Timofey (Timothy) M.Orlovsky. The carriage was made to entertain young kids of Heir to the Throne Cesarevich Alexander Nikolayevich. Small children of the Crown Prince were able to roam the alleys of the Park in it. The servants, of course, were leading little horses harnessed into that carriage.
The Wizard (craftsman) created this carriage to the fifth birthday of the eldest daughter of Alexander II, Grand Duchess Alexandra (b. 1842). Later the carriage was used by the sons of the Emperor, the Grand Dukes Nicholas and Vladimir (born respectively in 1843 and 1847): their monograms “HA” (NA) and “BA” (VA) are placed on the side panels of the carriage. There were other children in the Family: Alexander (b. 1845, since 1881 – Emperor Alexander III), Aleksey (b. 1850), Maria (b. 1853), Sergey (b. 1857) and Paul (b. 1860). They could have also used this carriage in their games.
As it was appropriate for the members of the Imperial family the carriage of children of the Heir to the Throne was decorated not only with their monograms, but also with heraldic symbols of the dynasty – Imperial Crowns and gilded Coats of Arms of the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Poland, skillfully pasted into decoration of the coach. The Monogram “AM” under the Crown that decorates the cover of coach box (seat for the coachman), belongs to parents of young owners of the carriage and is made up of the first letters of their names: “Alexander” and “Maria” (Emperor Alexander II and Empress Maria Alexandrovna).
The carriage was made in carriage-making workshop of Timofey (Timothy) M.Orlovsky in Moscow. A small workshop “The coach-maker Timofey Mikhailov Orlovsky and son” and the shops were located “near the Stone bridge in the parish of Kozma and Damian, in the house of merchant Alliluev”. This is noted in the paper label placed inside under upholstery – a rare case for the Russian crafts of that time. Only first-class craftsmen worked in the carriage workshop of Orlovskies’, which is proved by the high quality of craftsmanship of this children's carriage.
This carriage is made in compliance with the latest achievements in the carriage building of that time. The coach is a double-seat coupe with coach box for driver and back step for the footmen. It is equipped with a shaft; a turning circle; plate C-shaped and semi-elliptical springs, providing noble passengers with maximum comfort and peace. To ease getting in and out of the carriage inside were installed a couple of folding footsteps. Special (so-called “grabbing”) belts were placed on the rear wall inside to help getting seated, making the ride more comfortable.

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The carriage was equipped with a special “communicator” with the coachman. It is a long cord pulled through the front wall. One end of this cord was fixed to the hand of the driver while the other was in the hands of the passengers, who would pull it if they needed to stop the carriage. Emperor Alexander II also used same “system” of signals to the driver when riding around the city in closed coaches. But in the children's carriage this hardly was used as intended, because horses harnessed to the carriage, for safety reasons, were led by the servants. The carriage was a double-horse harness with a shaft. The carriage is fitted with four glass candle lanterns.
Like riders of the adult carriages, passengers in this children's carriage had an excellent visibility provided by five windows with lifting faceted windowpanes. At the same time, there was also a place for privacy: windows were fitted with rolling blinds.
This unique artifact amazes not only with technical perfection and exquisite decoration, but also astonishes with the elegant severity of forms, especially with rare navy blue color of the lacquered body of the carriage.
Inside, the carriage is splendidly decorated with silk and velvet in beige and blue tones of various shades: the walls and seats are upholstered in patterned fabrics, trimmed by ribbon with images of double-headed eagle; the ceiling is decorated with voluminous embroidery on moiré of the Imperial crown. The composition is made of silken and golden threads and supplemented with metal dies, sequins and cantilever. The floor of the coach is covered with a woolen embroidered carpet. Back and side steps of the carriage are also beautifully decorated. The particular splendor to the carriage is provided by decoration of the cover of the box. Moiré silk and velvet decorated with fabled braid, silken cords and pendants. The refined golden-silver-blue shades of fabrics surprisingly successfully match blue color of the body of the carriage. The blue color is a symbol of the ribbon of the Order of St.Andrew, the main award of the Russian Empire. Children in the Imperial family were awarded with this Order at birth.
There were several children's carriages in the Tsar’s (Royal) family in the middle of XIX Century. Unfortunately, to this day they have almost not survived.
Children's carriage of the senior children of Alexander II (now stored in SHM) by 1861 was included in the catalogue of exhibits of the Court Stables Museum in St.Petersburg, where were gathered the best examples of carriages that belonged to Royal family. In 1917, among the most valuable carriages, this one was moved to Moscow, where it was placed in the Manege of the Alexandrinsky Palace, where since 1920 was located the Museum of Furniture. In 1926 it was transferred to the Historical Museum.
The carriage of children of Emperor Alexander II is a rare example of children's carriages preserved today in the collections of museums of Russia. It is obviously a unique sample of Russian decorative and applied art because of its special beauty and technical perfection.
A scientific restoration of the carriage carried out in 2010–2014 made it possible to display it. Now visitors of the Museum may enjoy this carriage almost the way it looked when its first owners saw it for the first time.