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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Antique Horse Weathervanes: A Rich History

Weathervanes are a beautiful, practical way to identify the direction of the wind, and they have a rich history of use for farmers and ranchers. In the days before meteorologists used modern tools to determine future weather patterns, farmers relied on simple tools to keep an eye on the weather. The direction of the wind could help a farmer determine a change in the weather conditions that could affect his crops; for example, a sudden change in the wind direction is a sure indicator of low pressure and the possibility of storms. Over the years, weathervanes became quite ornate and a beautiful expression of art and history that enrich the look of a home and property.

The artists who created weathervanes looked for symbolic figures to incorporate into their art. Often depicting a way of life, weathervanes incorporated farm animals into their designs, such as horses, pigs and chickens. Weathervanes were added to churches and other urban buildings to symbolize tradition and culture. By the end of the 19th century, elaborate weathervanes could be found on most Victorian-era buildings. As an important part of daily life for riding, farming and transportation, horses were a favorite subject.

Horse weathervanes were often shown depicting famous race horses in various running or trotting styles. The horses were designed to face in the same direction as the wind was blowing, to give the illusion that the horses were running with the wind. The elegant form of the horse gave the weathervane artists a noble subject to create in many beautiful forms and variations. As the horse weathervanes were exposed to annual weather events and temperature extremes, they developed a beautiful patina which gave them even more character and detail.

Antique horse weathervanes are a beautiful addition to any home or landscape. Not only are they representative of both history and art, they provide a bit of decorative elegance in addition to serving a functional purpose.


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