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The Cost of Keeping a Horse in Jane Austen’s Day

Ladies in Morning Carriage Dress, from the Gallery of Fashion, August, 1794. The ladies are shown in a high-perch pheaton. The high-perch phaeton was extremely dangerous--no doubt one reason why it was so fashionable! It was also very expensive to keep, so only the most wealthy and daring lady would be seen out in a London park tooling in such a vehicle. Thank you Cathy Decker, for letting us use this fashion plate!

In Jane Austen’s day, walking was the most common method of travel, and the
vast majority of Britains could never afford to own a horse. Horses
were extremely expensive, luxury items, and, in a society led by the Prince
Regent whose passion for fast horses was legendary, ownership of a smart
horse or team of horses gave one considerable and instant social prestige.

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