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Not really sure this warrants it's own post but don't where else to put it! 

I have always loved carousel horses, I blame the gallopers at Goose Fair for it.

Well, forward a good few years and I came across an old beaten up carousel horse head that sold at auction, I had missed it by a couple of weeks. Hoping to find another, I began researching them. 

They have a fascinating history in the UK, Europe, and the US. Stemming from ancient Arabian games to test a warrior's skill, that in turn inspired medieval jousts. 

 

So began the hobby of collecting and restoring, as only limited space will allow.

This is from the makers Stein & Goldstein, two gents who carved them in the US, they carved it in 1916.

Only 3 of their carousels remain today out of the 17 they made. One is located in New York's Central Park, the rest burned down, were destroyed, lost, or were sold off piece meal to collectors in the mid 1970s when prices hit an all time high for individual figures. 

 

This was my ugly duckling at auction, I saw a swan wanting to emerge from under all that paint 

 http://0552_zpsmxkxfp1r.jpg

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What to do about a pole?

I managed to track down an original English Anderson galloper pole, had it packed up and shipped to Canada.

The British Customs Officer had a great time ribbing me about the "brass pole" I was clearing, cheeky bugger.

Oh, but was it ever in rough shape. Likely not been polished in a 100 years and the only reason you could see any brass shining through was because it was covered in remnants of varnish.

I had my work cut out for me, my scullery maid skills were about to be tested...

http://thumbnail_20170522_200736-1_zpssi984g7j.

 

http://thumbnail_20170520_175953-1_zps57rlhg0q. 

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This took longer than I dared dream, twenty hours in, a gallon of Brasso and a half pound of wire wool down, I questioned my sanity.

I could have paid someone to do it but it meant something to me to tackle it alone, I look at it now and see blood, sweat, and tears, (a bit of carpal tunnel too! :laugh:)

 http://thumbnail_20170528_190452-1_zpsudclnjsg.

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Stripped to the wood, 15+ layers of ugly paint later...

He has to sit a year or so to get used to the dry weather before I start restoring the wood, replacing losses, re-glueing dowels, etc. It could crack in 6 months if I start now, gotta let this old boy's joints settle into his new retirement climate!

 http://SampG2_zpscms240cg.jpg

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Well done, ABA! Wonderful to see someone who is willing to spend money, time, blood sweat and tears restoring the past. I too love old artefacts and most of the furniture in my house is Victorian or earlier. Ikea holds no appeal for me!

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Thank you Jill! They don't make em' like they used to do they? I can just imagine you in a Victorian or Georgian abode, your profile pic reminds me of the lovely Old Masters paintings, I could easily see you in lovely foil-backed Georgian paste jewels and all the accoutrements of the era.

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I'm a Tudor lass at heart! I love the era of the Tudors and, given the choice would be living in a wood framed, wattle and daub abode! Don't like the 21st century! I was once called a Mediaevalist...by the local vicar! I told him that I regarded the term as a great compliment, although that's not the way it was meant! ;)

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Oh, you make me laugh, must have been a good story to go along with that :laugh:

Sounds like a dream to me too, I can't help feeling like I was born in the wrong era. So swooned with things of the past, they resonate much stronger than anything of today's day and age.

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Never have liked modern buildings, cars or furniture. The older I get, the more I rebel against the throw away, wasteful society we live in. Last time I went into Nottingham, I didn't recognise it. Full of ugly modern architecture. When you look at what has been destroyed to make way for it, I could weep. We can never retrieve it. So sad.

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It's so true, Jill, what a step backwards. Back in the day things were made with such artistry and craftsmanship. People treasured them and they stayed in families for generations. They were made so well, form, function, and beauty.

Now, it's the norm to buy new furniture every few years, on a whim or for fashion, or because it falls apart and you have to. 

Same for clothing, I'm in awe of how men and women's clothing was once made. Now that was tailoring and dressmaking, exquisite! 

Not that you can't find well made things today, but it's a niche, a rarity.

The general mindset of the masses is now so different, it's fuelled by instant gratification, a throw-away generation. 

 

I used to work next to a lovely high end, privately owned, jewellers here in Canada. They sold new jewelry but also took in old pieces to sell in their estate section. Sometimes customers would request items to be melted down and be remade into custom pieces.

There was a feisty Russian jewelry designer who worked there for over 20 years, her name was Ivana. I just loved her quick wit and dry humour. She was very poised, the epitome of grace, but always very direct.

I was in there when a customer came in once with jewelry inherited from her Great Grandmother's estate she said. She asked Ivana to dismantle a number of the pieces and redesign them into some modern jewelry items that she'd actually wear, she hated them as they were and considered them ugly.

Ivana looked through them (I desperately wanted to peek!) and told the girl that these were exceptional pieces, rare and exquisite and bluntly said "no I won't do it" to which the young lady said quite aggressively "you have to, I'm the customer, that's what I want!"

Well, her reply was priceless and you have to imagine this in the bluntest Russian accent you can think of. Ivana said "you would not bring me a Picasso and ask me to repaint it to match your f-ing couch!"

The girl just grabbed her things and left.

I died. I never did get to see what she had but they must have been something pretty special, Ivana was a diehard puritan when it came to historic jewelry.

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1 hour ago, ABritAbroad said:

the old Notts is still crystal clear in my mind.

 I feel the same ABA, I left Nottm in 1966, and was not even aware of what was about to happen, especially to the beautiful Architecture. I only moved approx 70miles away and I did keep visiting family in Gedling, but for a few years I never really saw the city centre.

 As my children grew up and we had more freedom, we could spend more time visiting. We would go into the City, and I would be so disorientated because some of the Old Nottm that I was so familiar with, had gone, Streets and areas in St Anns where my family had lived, just didn't exist anymore.

As this was happening in Nottm, the same was happening in W-ton, and when I look at old pictures of W-ton around 1900 to 1966 when I moved here, they also lost the Architecture, to be  replaced with eyesores.

Trinity Square was my first big shock. I remember standing on the pavement on Milton Street probably in the 1970s and felt lost, I couldn't get my bearings at all with my memory of the area.

Let's hope that good sense prevails and the powers that be, realise what has been lost and leave the rest alone.

 

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Oh carni, that's tragic, progress isn't always progress is it? That must have been bewildering for you, no?

I only knew the Market Square had changed quite a bit, when I left it was still with the fountains, which I know weren't always historically there but still... My mates did a leg-and-a-wing and tossed me in one on my last day in the UK. T'was like pigeon poop soup, at least I kept my head out of it!

I tried not to "squelch" when I got on the bus home, I was worried the bus driver wouldn't let me on.

 

Better bring a box of tissues with me next trip home, a pint or two might be in order after too, drown me sorrows ;)

 

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What on earth are they thinking, eh, Cliff Ton?

That Gustafson Porter + Bowman lot wrecked the market, it looked better in the 70's with the fountains and the gardens, it was beautiful at one time. Ok so it wasn't the Trevi Fountain but it was in keeping with the British aesthetic, it had character. I don't mind modern art at all, I appreciate it, but build a freestanding statue or put it in a gallery, don't F up historical architecture in the name of it. 

 

That's like the carousel horses, they all got replaced after the Great Depression with fibreglass and aluminium ones, they were cheaper, you could bang them out quick and not have to look after them and no one saw the carved ones as historic art. 

One of the greatest carvers refused to bow down and insisted on keeping his carving tradition, but he died broke. Now his remaining carousels are well over a $1M. I hope he's watching down here and finally seeing how much his work is treasured now.

 

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Did someone mention carousel horses ?

Mrs C enjoying hersen, Albert Docks, Liverpool.

 

P1030283_zpsb4vyovnt.jpg

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That horse is so beautiful such craftsmanship.

 

It reminds me very much of my one and only visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna back in the early 80s. I watched in awe as a horse working rider less but on a long rein leapt in the air just like that. Their Lipizzaner's are magnificent horse's just like him, working in a beautiful old world backdrop.

 

If ever you find yourself in Vienna go its worth every penny.

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catfan, your Wife looks lovely on her steed, what smile. Thank you for sharing, great snap!

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Thank you NewBasfordlad, I can't take any credit for him personally of course but I sure share your kindred appreciation of the beauty and the work. 

It is a marvel to me, how these men made such majestic things, given their resources in that era. They were Russian immigrants who came to America to start a new life. Their trade from home was wood carving. They started with women's hair combs, it was the only work they could get, then they progressed to horses. Finally owning their own business.

Their first full carousel was a massive machine, however, it burned to the ground on opening day due to an accidental fire in the park. Can you imagine :Shock: Not like you can uninstall and rescue these in a hurry, they weigh about 200lbs each. All that work up in smoke, gut wrenching.

 

Be still my heart, I'd love to go to Vienna. The Lipizanna stallions would be such an experience to watch, magnificent animals aren't they? Seeing them in the flesh must have been quite something for you.

He does have that kind of Lipizanna look doesn't he? Some people do not like this style of carousel horse, they find them too big and think the S&G horses just look angry, but I think he looks regal.

When I was a kid I'd always pick a particularly unruly horse at Bestwood stables to ride, named Kelly. It was my chance to be a rebel and go galloping off wildly into the the woods, then blame it on the horse! ;)

He's only an inch shorter than I am and currently resides in my bedroom. When the sun goes down at the end of the day he looks quite magical, it really highlights the hills and valleys of the carving.

 

I'm soppy, these little things just make me happy as...

 

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ABritAbroad, Saw these the other week in York,thought you might like to see them

 

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P1060211.jpg

 

Rog

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Grandson with son

show_newark1-4_(4).jpg

show_newark1-4_(5).jpg

Grandson with his mum

Heckington_show_7.jpg

Heckington_show_8.jpg

 

Where has all that time gone? these were taken nearly thirteen years ago, good to resurrect an old thread though

 

RogLikeLike

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Abritabroad.  I wonder what happened to her?  I hope she's ok.  I really enjoyed her posts and then she was gone.  So many sign up and then disappear.  Surely we can't be that bad a bunch.  :(

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