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Pen and ink and watercolour design for the King's State Coach, shown from the side.
According to the official journal of the Department of the Master of the Horse for 1760, ‘At the Commencement of this Reign [25 October 1760] a very superb State Coa

Explore objects related to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace

Christina Broom (1862-1939)

Horse and rider, Buckingham Palace 18 - 18 Nov 1929

RCIN 2111068

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This image shows a pair of black stallions wearing the Black Horse harness. A postilion rides the far horse, which is standing outside one of the carriage houses in the main quadrangle of the Royal Mews. The Black Horse harness is believed to have been made for the Coronation of William IV in 1825 and is still used for particular state occasions today. Each ‘side’, which is a set of harness worn by an individual horse, weighs approximately 50kg and the bridles 7kg.

As with the Hanoverian Creams, the black stallions shown here were also a continental breed, similar to the modern Hanoverian horse but with a heavier build. They were temperamental and difficult to breed; something of their lively spirit can be seen in the flecks of foam from their bits, which have fallen onto the traces. A simpler harness is used for the messenger Brougham carriage when bringing post, twice-daily, between Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace, and when schooling the horses, but each piece is still cleaned after every use. The horses with darker coats used at the Royal Mews today are mostly Cleveland Bays – dark brown horses with black manes, tails and lower legs. The photographer, Christina Broom, kept a stall at the Royal Mews in the early twentieth century from which visitors could purchase postcards to remember their visit.