Gail Thornton
a pictorial archive of horse


The Sociable

I find it hard to distinguish between a Landau and a Sociable.  However one description of the later Sociable states that it was driven by a coachman from a box seat higher than the passenger seats.  There was also a door on each side of the body.  The Barouche Sociable was built with a double-hooded body, which can be seen in the postcard.  It certainly lives up to its name in this photograph as it looks like the whole family are crowded in to the vehicle.

It would appear that this is another example of a Barouche Sociable as you can see it has hoods on either side and the driving seat is high above the passenger seats.  This postcard has the words ‘Cartolina Postale’ on the back which may lead you to assume that it is foreign.  However this is not necessarily the case as sometimes postcard makers just used what was to hand.  Other than  ‘To Doreen, with love and Best Wishes from Sylvia" there are no other hints as to who the people are or where they are as it has not been postally used.

Another early description of a Sociable is that of a low hung angular carriage seating four but having only the hind part of the body protected by the folding head.  It is difficult to see in this postcard whether it just has the one hood or whether there is a second hood behind the driver.  It also doesn’t have the high seated driving position so maybe it should be in the Landau section. Again it is a foreign postcard as on the back it states that it is a Carte Postale but has no other identifying information.

An English postcard showing a Sociable but with no other means of identification as it has not been postally used and there is no photographer named.  It could be that this has been hired for a day trip out as very few of the working class could afford their own turnout.  Jobmasters could transform anyone into a king or a queen for the day, the month or even the season.  They would supply not only the horse and carriage but the coachman, sometimes in livery if requested.