Bavarian King Ludwig II's new splendid carriage and small gala coach is back on display at Nymphenburg Palace following extensive restoration work.
The sleigh dating from 1878 and the one year older carriage frame is the only preserved multi-functional vehicle of the court of Munich, according to the Bavarian Department of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes. The splendid vehicle can be adjusted to requirements, so depending on the time of year it can be fitted with sledge runners in winter to make it into a sleigh. The neo-rococo designed carriage was used in the environs of Linderhof castle and Hohenschwangau.
For the preferred nighttime sleigh rides of Ludwig (1845-1886), affectionately known as the fairytale king, the carriage was already fitted with electric lights. The carriage was originally equipped with a battery under the drivers seat which would power the glass lamps at the front of the vehicle. The footman, usually seated at the back of the carriage, had a switch to help adjust the intensity of the beam. The court's carriage manufacturer Johann Michael Mayer made sure to be handsomely paid for this splendid vehicle. He was given 140,000 German marks for the sled and a further 118,000 German marks for the carriage frame.
The carriage has already undergone restoration work in 2015 but now the sled components, which still bear the obvious marks of use, have been cleaned and restored. The 35,000 euro costs were covered by Meitinger Foundation.
The carriage is on display at the Marstallmuseum at Nymphenburg Palace. With over forty representative coaches, sleighs and riding accoutrements that belonged to the Wittelsbachs, the museum documents three hundred years of princely coach building and travel and riding culture. With its rich collection, the Marstallmuseum is one of the most important of its kind in the world.