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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Let's rock!


This week's prompt was a bit tricky for me. I haven't come across any photos of silhouettes or silhouettists, so I've decided to focus instead on the little fellow on the left, who appears to be sitting on a toy horse of some kind. I've found quite a few photos in my albums, showing children of successive generations of family and friends enjoying  themselves on their rocking horses, with a few merry-go-round varieties for good measure.

I have featured this first photo before, but have cropped it here to show just this little late 19th century miss and her puppy on a rocking horse, c. 1898, and her brother Arnold standing beside her with his kitten. Her name was Charlotte Petrie and she was a daughter of my great grandfather Charles Cruickshank's sister Jessie. She became an artist when she grew up, but she was not a silhouettist as far as I am aware.  Her horse has only a tiny head, but it does have one. To see the full photo and read a little more about Charlotte and her family, click here.




The next photo is of my father Ian and must date back to about 1926 or 1927, when he would have been around two or three years old. I imagine Ian was rather a reserved child but he has a whimsical smile in this snap. Those double style horses for younger children to sit in rather than ride on seem to have been a popular choice.




The next photo is of my Uncle Derek riding on a merry-go-round and probably dates back to about 1931, as Derek was born in 1929. Not a rocking horse, but similar in style.  A  great deal of craftsmanship would be involved in making all the horses here, but particularly those on the merry-go-rounds.





Here I am with my mother Jean, posing on what looks to be a nice simple little model, c. 1955.

The son of a friend enjoying his ride on a spotted steed, around the same time.  Giddy-up, horsey!




 I don't know who owned this next horse, but my next-door neighbour John and I were obviously having fun together here and giving him a good workout.




Yours truly on another merry-go-round, c. 1957.

The following rocking horse is definitely ours ...


because I'm riding it above, c. 1957 and my sister is doing the same, a few years later, c. 1961, by which time both sides appear to be minus their manes. They must have been worn off by vigorous riding!




 Here's a big brother giving his little sister a helping hand to balance on her horse. They were the children of Jean's old college friend Colleen and the little girl's name was Robyn. 'Rockin' Robyn' perhaps, as the song goes!




Our first daughter Claire enjoying this simple sit-in version, c. 1980, which we rescued from the nature strip after it was thrown out in a council clean-up. We repaired, repainted and gave it a new lease of life. It probably ended up on the nature strip again a few years later,but may well have been rescued again.




Here we are on a couple of different merry-go-rounds in Sydney and Canberra I believe, c. 1988. Daughter Laura looks a little apprehensive and for that matter so do I, but her brother Strahan seems to be having a good time.  The horses in the second shot are all named after past Melbourne Cup winners, and Strahan is riding the great Phar Lap.





 Laura enjoying her grandmother Jean's little rocking horse, c. 1989. This sturdy little horse is no heirloom, but  he's now resting in our attic, ready to be brought down for Jean's great granddaughter and the rider's niece to try out on her upcoming visit. At nine months she'll probably still need a helping hand to hold on, and I'm sure Laura will be ready and willing to show her how.
 No doubt photos will be taken to add to the family collection.





The last couple of photos are of my aunt's cat Tussy, who was clearly accustomed to commandeering this lovely old steed, whether to survey the room or look out the window. I don't know whether or not Tussy could rock, but she must have had a good seat, as horse riders say. No hands needed! I took the photos in 1997, but this rocking horse was an antique model. Good horses are crafted to last for generations, and this one would have outlasted many of its young  riders. A granddaughter who arrived in 2007 would no doubt have competed with Tussy for prime position on that saddle.  My aunt also bred real miniature ponies, but I doubt Tussy could ride those.





A classic song to finish up with, appropriate to one of the photos above - well, sort of anyway! 


So now you're in the mood, rock on over to Sepia |Saturday #255
where you might actually find some silhouettes and lots more.


Postscript: here is a photo just received, of my little Canadian great niece Eloise, about to climb on the little pink pony that her Mum bought for $5. She's only just one but can get on and off by herself and loves to rock. Her great grandmother Jean would have been proud of her!

                                  
                                                          

It reminded me of the rocking horse cake in the Australian Women's Weekly birthday cake book, which was my birthday cake 'bible' for many years. I don't think I ever made it, but here is the picture from the book:

                                                              

18 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed how you picked the theme of the rocking horse and had so many photos to illustrate it. Gussy is obviously a poised and confident cat :)

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  2. I feel like I really missed out--I never had a rocking horse. Tussy is a very beautiful cat.

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  3. What a wonderful collection of little ones riding rocking horses! Clever the way you linked the spotted ones together. As for Tussy & her seat of choice, cats do choose the strangest places to alight, sometimes. Cute pictures of her on the antique horse.

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  4. I'm amazed at how many photos you have of family members on rocking horses."

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    1. I was surprised to find that many myself!

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  5. What a great collection of happy children on horseback - plus the adventurous cat.

    I especially liked the first photo and the serious little girl in the big fancy bonnet.

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  6. A wonderful collection of rockers. I love the idea of one being rescued, refurbished and re-homed too.

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  7. I, too, had one of those "catamaran" types -- the two cut-outs with a seat inbetween; I was always disappointed, though, that I never got a REAL horse!

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    1. I like that description, catamaran style! They are really just rockers and the silhouetted shapes on either side can be of anything of course, but they are good for toddlers. My father-in-law made one with swan shapes for his grandchildren's entertainment. I probably have a photo of it somewhere too, and as a silhouette it would still be on topic.

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  8. I always used to be deeply envious of friends who had a very nice old antique grey rocking horse. I wonder what became of it. Love the cat!

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  9. Oh my goodness, so many horses! This reminds me that I have an old 1970s one out the back that the kids sometimes go on, but it is so dangerous I have to take it to the dump before it breaks and someone falls off!

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  10. You have more horses than the Derby as I count 26 ponies including the double sided ones as two silhouettes. Children will always sit on a rocking horse but cats not so much, so extra points for the last ones,

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    1. Love your comment! My sister just resd my blog and then emailed me a very recent photo of her one year old Canadian granddaughter, rocking along on her little pink pony, which is the real ride-on kind, not just one of those catamaran silhouette rockers. Maybe I should add it as a postscript. Apparently she climbs on and off by herself even.

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  11. What a lot of rocking horses; Tussy seems to know what she is doing,

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  12. Even though my family had rocking horses, I couldn't find a photo of anyone on one. What a fine collection you have, certainly worthy of being grouped together in one place like this. You could make a photo book of just these photos -- of course, I'm a sucker for a theme.

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  13. I almost went with the rocking horse theme, but alas I have nowhere near as many photos as you! You really "rocked" this week's theme! I enjoyed all the photos but especially the one with you and your neighbor John having such fun, and the cat on the horse was precious!

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  14. A veritable herd of rocking horses. That first one is positively minimalist.

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