Assembled in Rome by Gaetano Peroni, supplier to the Papal Stables, using parts of French craftsmanship, this elegant Berlin belonged to Cardinal Luciano Luigi Bonaparte, who had received it as a gift from his cousin Napoleon II on 13 March 1868, on the occasion of his appointment as cardinal.
On the doors there are paintings of the allegorical personifications of the Church of Rome on the right, and the Catholic faith on the left. On the side panels a series of putti hold objects alluding to the cardinal’s virtues: the Tablets of Law and the Book of the Apocalypse on the left, and an anchor and a brazier, respectively symbols of rectitude and fear of God, as well as hope and charity.
Always detached from the attractions of the Roman Curia and the French court, Cardinal Bonaparte led a life distinguished by charity and patronage of the arts. After his death he bequeathed his carriage to Pope Leo XIII, who maintained the heraldic arms depicting the Napoleonic imperial eagle.