Detail, carving on outside peace chariot horse

Equus Art and PTC#30

Equus Art Pty Ltd is an Australian company specialising in the restoration and conservation of old wooden horses, including carousel, rocking and wheeled varieties. Equus Art was established by Patricia Mullins and John Kirkpatrick in 1998. Heritage/ construction project management and artistic direction; graphic design and web communications; book illustration and design are also areas of expertise for the company. Where necessary Equus Art is able to call upon specialist artisans and conservators for specific projects.

John Kirkpatrick provides the project/contract management and human resources management expertise required for larger projects. Many of the photographs on these pages are by John and he designed and constructed the web site.

Click to see details of "The Rocking Horse"

A qualified graphic designer, Patricia Mullins is primarily known in Australia as a multiple award winning children's book illustrator and writer of over 20 titles. Many of these books have been translated and published overseas. She is also recognised internationally for her reference book "The Rocking Horse, A History of Moving Toy Horses". Published in London in 1992, this work has become the definitive history of the subject covering toy horse manufacture, history and patents worldwide. Seven years in the making, the book features superb photos by Ray Kinnane and has now become a collector's item.


Patricia Mullins has restored wooden horses for over 25 years, having learned the craft from the late Jack Bartlett, second generation rocking and carousel horse maker. During this time she has developed a particular interest in the preservation of original finishes as well as the reconstruction of finishes according to the individual manufacturer's style. Patricia has previously been sourced as a consultant by the National Cultural Heritage Committee and has also provided advice re conservation and valuation issues on various Australian carousels.

Her involvement in the painting of the carousel horses of PTC#30, and working as artistic director of the carousel project, meant that the PTC company's 1913 paint scheme was reproduced meticulously. This was done according to all details found following painstaking investigation of the original paint. PTC archival photos were another important source.

  Below is an example of an English rocking horse made by the F.H.Ayres company c.1890. In Patricia's restoration of this horse, overpaint was removed, the original gesso and base paint were retained, while the dappled finish and leather harness were reproduced in the Ayres' style. The intention was to conserve the original as much as possible and still retain the aged appearance of the rocking horse.  
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