Best Things First: Rocking Horses

<< Back to Robb Report, June 2004
  • Karen Cakebread

A staple of the nursery receives the traditional treatment at Windmill Antiques in North Yorkshire, England, where proprietors Brian and Jean Tildesley replicate Victorian and Edwardian rocking horses, as well as rejuvenate steeds that have been ridden long and hard over the decades. The Tildesleys, who for years had owned an antique furniture shop, became specialists in the whimsical niche “by mistake, actually,” says Jean. About 15 years ago they did their first rocking horse restoration, which, Jean continues, “did really well, so we did another. Brian then began making patterns [for more horses], and then we didn’t have time for the antique shop.”

The bodies are carved from hardwood and then coated with layers of gesso, a mixture of glue and whiting that craftsmen have used for hundreds of years. The gesso hardens to form a smooth base for the layers of paint and varnish that are applied to create a classic English dappled gray. Finished with manes and tails of real horsehair and outfitted with leather tack, the horses are mounted on bow rockers or safety stands, ready to become instant heirlooms. 

 

Windmill Antiques
+44.1845.501330
www.windmillantiques.co.uk

From Around the Web...
The contents of Tut’s tomb paint a decadent picture of Egypt’s famous boy pharaoh…
Items include a gold medal won by Jesse Owens and a jersey worn in hockey’s “Miracle on Ice” match…
Original cover art by Frank Frazetta sells for world-record price…
Fine jewelry, furniture, dedicated books, and art will be auctioned…
These writing instruments are still a must-have—even in a digital world…
From Basquiat to Duchamp, Bowie’s incredible art collection goes to auction…
Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden landscape installation will be exhibited at the iconic Connecticut...
The nostalgic allure, rarity, and beauty of these pieces and sets are fueling collectors’ demand…
Photo by Donald Bowers
The enormous rough-cut diamond did not find a winning bidder today…
Two groundbreaking modern paintings sell for high above their original estimates…