A barouche is a large, open, four-wheeled
carriage A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly horse-drawn A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels an ...

, both heavy and luxurious, drawn by two horses. It was fashionable throughout the 19th century. Its body provides seats for four passengers, two back-seat passengers Vis-à-vis (carriage), vis-à-vis two behind the coachman's high box-seat. A leather roof can be raised to give back-seat passengers some protection from the weather.


''Barouche'' is an anglicisation of the German language, German word ''barutsche'', via the Italian language, Italian ''baroccio'' or ''biroccio'' and ultimately from the ancient Roman Empire's Latin language, Latin ''birotus'', "two-wheeled". The name thus became a misnomer, as the later form of the carriage had four wheels.

Development and variations

The barouche was based on an earlier style of carriage, the ''calash'' or ''calèche'': this was a light carriage with small wheels, inside seats for four passengers, a separate driver's seat and a folding top. A folding calash top was a feature of two other types: the chaise, a two-wheeled carriage for one or two persons, a body hung on leather straps or thorough-braces, usually drawn by one horse; and a Victoria (carriage), victoria, a low four-wheeled pleasure carriage for two with a raised seat in front for the driver. A Victoria (carriage), victoria is distinguished from a barouche by having fold-down occasional seating for the rear-facing passengers, instead of permanent front seats. In Quebec, Canada, ''calèche'' refers to a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle with or without a folding top and with a driver's seat on the splashboard.Musée McCord Museum - Caleche, Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City, QC, about 1920.
McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montreal, Quebec. In the Philippines, the ''kalesa'' is a one-horse descendant of Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Spanish Colonial calashes, and is a common sight in older cities such as Manila and Vigan.

Description of the barouche carriage

A barouche was an expensive four-wheeled, shallow vehicle used in the 19th century with two double seats inside, arranged ''Vis-à-vis (carriage), vis-à-vis'', so that the sitters on the front seat face those on the back seat. It has a soft Hood (soft top), collapsible half-hood folding like a bellows over the back seat and a high outside box seat in front for the driver. The entire carriage is suspended on C springs and leather straps and more recently additional elliptical springs. It is drawn by a pair of Carriage horse, horses and was used in the 19th century for display and summer leisure driving. Designed to give a powerful impression of luxury and elegance, the structure of the carriage is heavier than it looks because of the lack of a rigid roof structure. A light barouche was a ''barouchet'' or ''barouchette''. A barouche-sociable was described as a cross between a barouche and a Victoria (carriage), victoria. A barouche-landau is mentioned in ''Emma (novel), Emma'', published in 1816 by Jane Austen. It "combines the best features of a barouche and a Landau (carriage), landau". An illustration of the expensive and more rarely seen vehicle, on account of the expense, is shown in a paper by Ed Ratcliffe, citing editor R. W. Chapman's collection of the works of Jane Austen, in the volume Minor Works, as noted in Ratcliffe's sources. f

In popular culture

In the 1994 novel, "The Alienist", which is set in 1896, by Caleb Carr a frequently used mode of transportation for the characters is a caleche. In the novels by Jane Austen, "Lady Dalrymple, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, and Henry Crawford owned barouches" in which other characters rode, and Jane Austen herself on at least one occasion in 1813 rode in a barouche. Henry Crawford was a character in ''Mansfield Park'' and his barouche was the topic of two important scenes of the novel; Lady Dalrymple was in ''Persuasion (novel), Persuasion'', while Mr and Mrs Palmer were characters in ''Sense and Sensibility''. Barouche driving is mentioned as a fashionable pastime in Nice, Italy, in chapter 37 of ''Little Women'' by Louisa May Alcott. Chichikov, the main character of Nikolai Gogol's "Dead Souls", is frequently driven around in his own barouche by his servant Selifan and is also involved in a crash with another carriage.


Image:Abraham Lincoln's carriage (barouche), c. 1860-1865, on loan from the Studebaker National Museum, view 2 - National Museum of American History - DSC00334.jpg, Note unprotected forward seats
and lack of underperch in the barouche Image:Calash3 (PSF).png, A two-wheeled calash Image:Podsreda04.JPG, A four-wheeled calash to be drawn by a pair (Podstreda Castle) File:Kalesa.jpg, A Philippine ''kalesa'' File:Bijela i crna kočija na MESAP-u 2016.jpg, White and black barouche at an exhibition in Nedelišće, Croatia

See also

* Steering undercarriage * Carriage#Types of horse-drawn carriages, Types of horse-drawn carriages


External links

{{commons category, Barouches Carriages Animal-powered vehicles History of road transport Horse transportation