A Wonderful Vintage Polychrome Painted Noah's Ark Roundabout Fairground Chariot c.1935

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Origin: English
Period: Early / Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1930-40
Height: 37 inches
Length: 43 inches
Width: 28 inches


One of a pair*, the wooden fairground seat from a children`s Noah’s Ark roundabout formed as a two horse led chariot with barley-twist brass handrail surviving from the second quarter of the twentieth century is presented in the original red, yellow and white showland paint on a lurid green ground, the whole packing flat for travelling.

The condition is nigh on completely original with no over cleaning or restoration to the paintwork; the brass barley twist handle could easily be cleaned if so desired. The chariot is fairly rickety as it will have been taken apart re-assembled plenty of times over but there is no worm evident or major structural complaints. Some of the bolts are later replacements.

Noah's Arks were fast undulating roundabouts with stunning decor that would take British fairgrounds by storm from the 1930s and by 1935 arks were everywhere and the showmen loved them.  The term Noah's Ark comes from the fact that assorted animal mounts were fitted to both the imported and earlier English machines. This chariot like form was derived from a sketch of "the chariot race", a famous painting hanging in Manchester art gallery and the first of these chariot inspired arks was the Ben Hur Ark. The dramatic scene of the racing charioteers was reproduced on a frontispiece that was four panels high and the traditional ark figures were replaced by horses, set in rows alternating with chariots, as we see echoed in our example, which in many cases were carved to represent dragons or art deco seahorses.

A fantastically evocative piece of showman’s art, and one that brings just as many smiles now as a stationary piece of décor, as it once did as a galloping chariot.

*Please enquire if interested in the pair (the other red) @ £595.00

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