Wooden Horse Restoration & Conservation

The photos on this page represent some of the many restorations by Patricia Mullins of rocking and carousel horses. The images on the left show the horses in the condition they were received. The horses have been returned to their original appearance as closely as possible, according to the style of their manufacture, using any original evidence found on each horse.

Patricia learned the craft of rocking horse making and repairing from Jack Bartlett whose father, Robert, established the Bartlett company of rocking horse and wooden toy manufacture in Melbourne in 1913. He based his style and methods on the English horses imported to Australia at the time.

Jack took over in the 1950s and the company was the main Australian supplier rivalled only by the Roebuck rocking horse making firm in Sydney. Patricia worked with Jack between 1976 and 1990 and has continued restoring horses to the present.

Links to two major carousel restorations can be found here:

Melbourne Zoo

Luna Park Melbourne

English, attributed to the Lines family, London, c1870. In original paint, the surface was stabilized, minor repairs carried out to the rockers and horse while the harness was restored following the original design. Traditional cow's hair mane and tail. A very fine horse, retaining the character of age while respecting its originality and value.
  English, G&J Lines No4 size rocking horse c1909 before restoration. The horse had been stripped when received with two damaged legs and the original stand missing, apart from the hardware and side-rails.   English, G&J Lines No4 size rocking horse c1909 after restoration with original, paddle shaped side-rails.The new stand shown was reconstructed according to this particular model Lines horse.  
  English, G&J Lines No2 size rocking horse (purchased new in South Africa in 1910) before restoration. Overpainted with replaced saddle and worn swing stand. The head was broken and chin missing.   English, G&J Lines No2 size rocking horse (purchased new in South Africa in 1910) after restoration. Its brass chest plate was marked, 'G&J Lines, London Ltd'.  
  German, Heyn carousel horse c1920 in park paint before restoration.   German, Heyn carousel horse c 1920 after restoration with an 'antiqued' painted finish in the company style.  
  Australian, Bartlett rocking horse c1955 in original condition before conservation.   Australian, Bartlett rocking horse c1955, after conservation work to the horse and stand. New harness was handmade and a new mane and tail attached, ready for the horse to be ridden again.  
  English, G&J Lines No 1 size rocking horse c1915 before restoration. Inappropriately overpainted and refurbished.   English, G&J Lines No 1 size rocking horse c1915 after restoration. The original gesso was preserved and the horse and stand have an appropriate, aged appearance.  
    Australian, Roebuck carousel horse c1920. Only a few of these horses have survived. Most were decorated as dappled greys, following the Roebuck rocking horse style. Private Collection.  
The Rocking Horse, A history of moving toy horses
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