A Charming Painted & Carved 19th Century Folk Art Carousel Horse


Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1860-80
Height: 30 inches
Depth: 8.5 inches
Width: 41 inches

Naively but charmingly painted in three simple colours, the lack of naturalism but presence of stylised features point to folk art and the original paintwork remains throughout.  The horse is positioned in a gallop and was more than likely part of a small six to eight horse children’s fairground merry-go-round. He is an early example and there also remains the possibility of the him being continental, namely French.

Condition is entirely original and thus there are weak points, chips and cracks but this is nothing short of desirable to many. There is some old strapwork to the rear legs and head to keep them in place. The tail, ears and hoofs all remain largely in tact.

Pieces of folk art are ephemeral, simple, and often crude, though they are always enchanting. They were made by unskilled people, usually provincially, for everyday use and enjoyment, and are naively decorated, and made of basic materials. However in this instance the craftsman may have been a circus traveller, and for that reason, the carving and skill shown is apparent and although the painting remains simple it is tremendously effective. Folk art provides an excellent insight into the everyday life of ordinary people in times of old, and for that reason we love it.

This chap is simply a charming decorative delight that is screaming to sit in any bay window lucky enough to bear it.