This extremely rare and enchanting carousel horse by Charles W. Dare is a highly important piece of antique Americana. One of the earliest works by one of the first carousel makers in the United States, this remarkable horse exudes an undeniable charm. Carved in a standing position, this lively steed exhibits all the hallmarks of Dare’s design, such as the forward-facing ears, the perfectly combed mane with a wind-blown effect, the tail of realistic hair, and the distinctive “bird” saddle, which was carved separately and attached. Among carousel antiques, those created by Dare are some the oldest and most coveted among collectors. They are the benchmark by which later carvings are measured. They are very seldom seen outside of museums and private collections, and to find one of such incredible beauty, in such marvelous condition, is truly extraordinary.
Considered a pioneer in carousel horse carving, Charles W. Dare was the founder of Country Fair-style carousels and was one of the earliest makers of amusement equipment in America. He built one of the first Ferris wheels, called a Dare wheel, in the country, and is believed to have introduced the fantastical sea horse, or hippocampus, into the carousel menagerie. Originally a hobbyhorse manufacturer, Dare founded the New York Carousel Company, and produced his first portable carousels between 1867 and 1875, with horses displaying the same simplicity as his hobbyhorses. In 1890, Dare renamed his prosperous business the Charles W. Dare Company, and produced a variety of amusement devices and portable carousels populated with an array of menagerie animals, including camels, elephants, deer and donkeys. Dare figures are renowned for maintaining a distinctive folk charm even as other carver’s created more realistic designs.
55” length x 61¼” high
Pole: 68” high
Carrousel Horses….A Photo Reference, 1984, Sondra EvansA Pictorial History of the Carousel, 1978, Frederick FriedPainted Ponies, 1996, William Manns, Peggy Shank and Marianne Stevens