07 May 2009

Carousel's Of France

The carousel originated in Europe, but reached its greatest fame in America in the 1900's. The first carousels featured gondolas, carts, menagerie animals, and horses. The French developed many variations of the carousel. In one variation, the riders tried to spear gold rings with lances while the carousel rotated at full speed. This undoubtedly led to the phrase, "catching the brass ring" on later carousels.

In the mid 16th century, grand tournaments were held in France. Saddle makers, tailors, jewelers, and wig makers created extravagant costumes for both horse and rider for these occasions. Inspiration for later carousel carvers apparently originated from these events.

During the late 1800's, many skilled European carvers immigrated to the United States to produce carousels. The carvings of these immigrants were a great improvement over the first efforts of unskilled carvers. Usually the side of the carousel horse facing the audience, the "Romance" side, was adorned with carved decorations, while the inner side received little attention. The golden age of carousels only lasted 25 years, but still brings back wonderful childhood memories today. 


Glenda/MidSouth said...

I wanted one of the horses for years, but the prices were way out of my budget. Now I would not have a place to put one if I could afford it (still can't). :) Thanks for sharing.

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Gorgeous photos and very interesting post!
Au revoir, mon amie!

Bellamere Cottage said...

Great post.......so beautiful, aren't they? Maybe someday I'll get to see them.

Happy Mother's Day!


French Furniture said...

The photos of the carousel are so beautiful. Nice lovely post.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

My foster mom collects small carousel horses.

I loved the gilded frames. So lovely.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

This was such a neat post.
I wish so much that they had not gotten rid of so many of the carousels. I was born in San Diego and grew up there. There was one across the street from the zoo and I LOVED it. I was taken on it at just a few months old..and the last time I rode it was with my two little boys that are now in their fifites with five more siblings. I love the way they look and I love their music.

Ana said...

J'adore les chevaux et votre musique. Bjs, Ana

Anonymous said...

These pictures are beautiful -- they capture the nostalgia of this lovely ride!

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