Dear Diva Readers,
ashing through the snow… On a one horse open sleigh…Over the hills we go… Laughing all the way!!’ Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! Jingle All the Way!
It’s that time of year! With Christmas mere days away everyone is hustling and bustling in a last minute dash to the finish line! (Er… Make that check out line!). Shopping must be done, travel plans finalized, every last trimming must be put on the tree, not to mention the house must be cleaned and made ready for guests, food must be made, and gifts must be wrapped… Uhm… Did I just stress anyone else out? There’s a lot to do!!!! But in the midst of all the Christmas craziness, I think we all like to take a moment and reflect on the romance of this time of year.
Images of Christmas-past come to mind, and make us realize that this season can be such a magical time! Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of Christmas and the winter season in general is the sleigh. Whether you picture Santa Claus flying through the air in one or hum the familiar tune of “Sleigh Ride” and envision a happy couple taking a ride in a one horse open sleigh, one thing is for sure— it puts you in the Christmas spirit!
One of our sources in France happens to have a gorgeous antique Russian sleigh in their showroom. An 18th century piece undoubtedly owned by an important family, this piece would have not only been beautiful to look at, but also a very functional part of winter life in Russia. Until the late 19th century, sleighs and sleds provided a high-speed means of transportation through the snow and ice covered regions of Russian and Siberia. Just as automobiles can be status symbols today, sleighs were often highly ornamented and the preferred means of transport for royals, bishops, and nobles.
This beautiful sleigh in particular has a detail of a male goat on the front, carved from wood and gilded. Made for only one person, this sleigh is modest in size, but regal none the less. I think it would make a fabulous display in a store window or even in a home next to the Christmas tree!
I love finding unique pieces like this when on a buying tour with clients. It makes you wonder who owned this sleigh? Did it’s original owner use it to carry a special message or gift to someone he or she loved? How did it end up in France? It just goes to show that you never know what you’ll come across on an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, and that’s the beauty of antiques—the stories they conjure up and the way they connect us to the past.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas season!
The Antiques Diva®