Description

Depicted here is a scene of confusion as a sedan chair topples over in the night-time gloom of an urban street. Sedan chairs had been popular in Britain since the Tudor period (Henry VIII was regularly conveyed in one) but had gained something of a status symbol by the mid seventeenth century. Much like modern taxi cabs today, many were hired on street corners and carried by licensed ‘chairmen’. By the early Georgian period sedan chairs became particularly popular amongst the wealthy elite as a private mode of transport, used to carry gentleman and ladies from inside their place of residence through the filthy city streets, without fear of dirtying their clothes. As shown in this image, many were conveyed by uniformed servants, and at night were shown the way by a burning torch or lantern.

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