A Fantastic c.1950 Hand Painted Fairground Hoopla Stall Lighting Canopy Bracket Attributed to Fred Fowle

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Origin: English
Period: Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown   
Date: c.1950
Width: 25.5 inches
Height: 36 inches
Depth: 3 inches    

The three foot hand painted lighting bracket from a fairground hoopla stall decorated with highly stylised wing and bull’s-eye motifs, and having four light bulb fitments and cast iron fittings, survives from the middle of the twentieth century.

The bracket remains entirely untouched, un-cleaned and un-restored and is such in as original order, though is not PAT tested but would almost certainly work when re-wired. There are paint losses and flaking as would be expected. It would have been one of several mounted on the canopy of a hoopla stall.

Fred Fowle was a classic fairground artist who decorated many of the leading showfolks’ tackle.  He upheld the tradition of classic fairground art.  His incredible 3D images seemed to somehow mimic the actual motion of individual amusement riding machines.  He was in a class of his own, especially with ‘marbling’ and ‘diminishing dropshade (with deep perspective)’ techniques, often using partridge feathers instead of brushes to achieve unbelievable results with paint.  Fred was an admirer of Great British Art and saw the fairground as a huge canvas to create his bold statements of form and colour.  Fred Fowle remains one of the most revered classical decorators of traditional showland rides and attractions, and showfolk still hold in great affection the memory of this mild mannered and likeable personality.

Many people are fascinated by fairground art and by the gorgeously painted and carved creatures that enchanted us from a young age. The world's finest collection of fairground art was amassed in the 1960s and 1970s by Lord and Lady Bangor when it was generally undervalued and underpriced. When Christie's auctioned their collection at Wookey Hole, Somerset in 1997, the sale attracted huge interest and massive sale results. Collectors flocked not just because of the finery of the collection, but because it is now quite rare to find or be able to purchase fairground art in the open market.

A strikingly vibrant and typically buoyant piece of functional fairground art, probably by the world’s most renowned fairground painter, that would look even more stunning when lit.

With our thanks to David Littleboy

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