In autumn 2013, the Crown Fine Art team accepted an assignment that proved to be one of the most difficult – and rewarding – challenges it has yet faced. As the saying goes, there is a first time for everything, and this was the first time that the company had been asked to manoeuvre, pack, transport and install a priceless collection of royal carriages, in this case ten carriages and sedan chairs dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. On loan from institutions including the Vatican, these vehicles were used by Italian sovereigns for public appearances at official ceremonies.
The transportation of historic and unusual vehicles is not something that occurs very often, and neither has it been well-documented. A great deal of research and analysis had to be done by Crown Fine Art in advance of this event, and a different solution created for each carriage.
When it came to moving the vehicles, their respective weights created an interesting challenge. Crown built special platforms to allow the carriages to be lifted into their trucks and then used electric and pallet trucks to do the lifting, minimizing the rotation of the wheels by locking them with wooden wedges. The locations of the vehicles also had to be taken into account during the loading process, for example factors such as lack of space or the necessity for a ramp.
Once inside the trucks, the carriages were wrapped with special packaging to protect their delicate decorations and mechanisms. They were then secured with restraint straps. It took six technicians to pack each vehicle into its truck and every truck was climate controlled, to ensure a constant temperature for the journey.
All at Crown Fine Art were very proud to be involved with this fascinating insight into Italian court history. Highlights included the imposing Palombella – the 1909 automobile that belonged to Queen Margherita and marked the passage from carriages to cars at official parades. The 1789 Berlingotto of Vittorio Emanuele I, one of the last symbols of the “Ancient Regime”, also left a lasting impression.
“We are very proud to have played a key part in such a historically important exhibition.” Elio Chiafalà, General Manager, Crown Fine Art Italy