Parisian Phaeton (or Vis-à-vis Phaeton)


This Parisian phaeton was made by S. Cund of Wolverhampton in about 1900 for the 20th Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot.  It was built as a leisure vehicle and was usually pulled by a single pony.  It was last used as recently as the Second World War, when petrol was rationed.

Phaetons are four-wheeled open carriages designed to be owner driven rather than cochaman driven.  Many of the most elegant phaetons were French-made – they and their English copies were called ‘Parisian’ phaetons.  The passengers sat opposite each other (face to face, or ‘vis-à-vis’).

The Parisian phaeton became popular during the 1880s. Its low, wide entrance was convenient for the large skirts women wore at the time.

Phaetons varied tremendously; from high-seated dashing vehicles for sporting gentlemen to low slung, low-entry carriages of this type, designed as Ladies Driving Phaetons. The example shown here was part of the collection of vehicles owned by the 20th Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot. It was built in 1900 and used regularly as late as the Second World War when petrol was rationed.

Accession Number: 64.064.0013