Ruby Newman was commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission and Recreation and Parks Department to oversee the 1977-1984 restoration of the decorative aspects of this 1914 carrousel. There are 62 menagerie animals and 4 chariots. The Decorative Housing which included: 54 pictorial panels and 18 carved masks were also lovely restored. She designed the color palette and hand painted the entire carrousel. These pieces were in an extremely depressed state with signs of major dry rot and worn surfaces throughout.
A crew of dedicated craftspeople worked under Newman, re carving and preparing the surfaces for painting. Many hours of labor were devoted to each piece to bring them back to mint condition.
The historic Photo ca 1888 above was taken on opening day of the Captain Tyler carrousel. This first carrousel in the playground was made up of stationary horses and driven by a steam engine. The tint horn was one of hundreds handed out to the children of San Francisco at the grand opening. Golden Gate Park's Children's Playground was the first public playground in the country. Three different carrousels have been housed here. The Hershell Spillman Carrousel was built in 1914 in North Tonawanda NY and was installed at the World's Fair on Treasure Island in 1928. It was then moved to GGP where it remains today. One of less than 100 turn of the century wooden carrousels to remain intact and in full operation. This restored carrousel has delighted young and old alike since 1984.
Please note: If you visit the carrousel today, you will notice that "Park Paint" has begun to appear. "Park Paint" refers to over painting by maintenance crews that have disregarded the restoration artist's fine painting techniques. This will be apparent on "eyes" of some of the main figures that are now blacked out. Saddle colors have been changed and some of the trapping throughout. The main bodies have remained intact The restoration efforts done over 25 years ago has withstood public use well.
Restored Cornice Panel, one of 18 * Kim Lazare and Any Barnette on restoration process
Cornice Masks before and after with restored panels in center. There are 18 cornice panels and masks that surround the crown of the carrousel
Kim Lazare,master restoration artist of Seattle WA, detailing Knight's horse.
an example of the inner pictorial panels before and after. There are 36 total
Original condition of deer's head where real deer antlers were once nested. The restored deer with antlers in place.
- Restoration and History of Golden Gate Park Carrousel
Return to Commission Work for more images and projects
ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED RUBY NEWMAN 2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED