Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ooh, Shiny!

Sorry about the unannounced mini-holiday. I recently restarted serious job-hunting, and I had forgotten how enervating the whole process was; I guess it finally caught up with me this week. I know I shouldn’t be reading too much into the initial lack of responses, but it does mess with your head regardless.

As a result, I haven’t been able to work up much enthusiasm over this week’s spate of announcements and new releases. The Walkabout Farms Rolex SR Strapless is nice, but I liked the subtler dapples of the 2007 FEI SR Dapple Gray better. The Porcelain Esprit is pretty, but it’s a Breakable. I love the Big Ben mold, but I despise LeRoy Neiman, so the Deco Big Ben leaves me …conflicted. The newest BreyerFest SRs just annoyed me: another Silver? Really?

The one model that did catch my eye was the 2010 Christmas Horse: a light bay, loose-mane Show Jumping Warmblood named Jewel. This surprises me, since it is not a series I have a lot of emotional or monetary investment in. I have Snowball and Snowflake; I liked the Snow Princess Rejoice and Noelle Goffert too, but not enough to buy either one.

But Jewel really strikes a chord. I think it’s his resemblance to a Carousel Horse that’s doing it: just like a real Carousel Horse, he sports a fanciful but not entirely implausible saddle, encrusted with rhinestones and beads.

I’ve always loved Carousel Horses; I sketched them obsessively in high school, fantasizing that I’d someday have the time and talent to create a Traditional-scale Carousel, complete with mirrors, motors and lights. That never happened; I’ve created a couple of Stablemate-scale ones, and I may cobble one or two Traditional ones yet out of my Body Box of Nightmares, but an entire Carousel? Not likely.

Original Carousel Horses were painted realistically, more or less; some of them came with gilded manes and tails, and pintos weren’t necessarily based on real pinto patterns, but the intent was obvious. It was the costuming that made them otherworldly: tigerskin saddle blankets, wreaths of roses, cherubim, ribbons, tassels, swags, chains, feathers, flags, armor, scimitars - sometimes all on the same horse!

You could say I was more than a little bit disappointed by Breyer’s first attempt at replicating a Carousel Horse: the "Merry-Go-Round Horse" from the 1985 J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog. He’s a Little Bit Morgan, painted mauve and bubblegum pink …with a boring little hot pink English saddle. Yawn:

The Carousel he was supposed to fit into never materialized; it and the Carousel Unicorn that were advertised in the 1985 Montgomery Ward's Christmas Catalog were never sold as far as I know, at least through Ward's. Some of the Unicorns eventually turned up for sale in the early 1990s, untacked and unmounted, via the Riegseckers, who were contracted to do the finish work on them. (They also had some leftover Morgans, similarly undressed.)

Reeves finally did the research, and got the Carousel aesthetic right in 2000 with the release of the 50th Anniversary Carousel Musicbox, and the Carousel Ornament series. I have a few of the ornaments, but not the Musicbox - it’s beautiful, but a bit too pricey (and fragile) for my tastes.

Jewel might be more my speed, and price. Like everything else, I’ll have to wait and see.

1 comment:

Stockstill Stables said...

I fell in love with carousels when I was living in San Francisco and spent many an hour inspecting both the Golden Gate park and Zoo ones. Ive seen someone on Blab created some breathtaking ones. I wonder if I still have the study photos I took of the carousels? I took rolls of photos over every part of them, they would me wonderful ref pics for CMers.