National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Carousel Horse Carousel Horse
Rendered by Henry Murphy (artist), c. 1939
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 40.8 x 37.6 cm (16 1/16 x 14 13/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 65" long
Index of American Design
1943.8.17301
Not on View
From the Tour: Woodcarving from the Index of American Design
Object 15 of 26

Carousel sculpture was another type of woodcarving important to circuses and to amusement parks. While crude carousels of various kinds had been available in America before the Civil War, the carousel with a rotating platform did not appear until 1879, when a version was first made in North Tonawanda, New York. Carousels became regular attractions at fairs and carnivals as well as at circuses. Their numbers increased greatly during the last years of the nineteenth century. One of the best-known makers of carousel animals was Charles Looff, who worked in Riverside, Rhode Island, and produced a wide range of animal figures between 1876 and 1918. Looff probably carved this fine, galloping steed after the turn of the century, since it is consistent with his late style both in liveliness and in the splendor of the animal's mane and accessories.

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