Unique Folk Art Carousel, c. 1940
The most curious thing about this folk art carousel is what it was made for. School Carnival? 4-H Project? Store Display? Artistic whim? Whatever the original purpose, the anonymous maker has produced a piece that’s fresh, folky and fun. The carousel is not motorized in any way. It’s a stationary piece that’s 28-3/4” high and 43” in diameter. The circular base is made of painted plywood and the canopy is painted cardboard spattered with glitter and a few stenciled stars.
Eight jig-saw carved bucking, prancing, rearing, galloping horses, each realistically painted on both sides, and each with its own distinct personality, are attached to wooden supports at the outer edges of the base. In addition, the piece comes with six carved carousel carts (two swans, two sleighs and two simple pew-style carts) that are not anchored to the base and can be places as one pleases and the carousel’s central support. The condition of the horses is very good to excellent, with one horse missing a foot. As the photos show, the carousel canopy shows the most wear, which is to be expected given that it’s constructed of heavy cardboard.
I acquired the carousel from a small-town Texas shop but was told it was found in Tennessee, notable (along with Kentucky) for its horse country culture. Though I have almost no information about the history of the carousel, this 1940s example of Americana speaks for itself and stands on its own. A note about shipping: The purchaser will be responsible for shipping arrangements. However, since I exhibit at shows across Texas and out of state, I am sometimes able to deliver pieces such as this in conjunction with a show. So please feel free to contact me to discuss that option.