THE VERY BEST OF THE HARNESS HORSE WEATHERVANES - ST. JULIAN by FISKE, NYC:
The best of all the horse weathervanes with a surry and driver that I have ever encountered is the rare and imposing model called "St. Julian", made by Fiske in New York City. Patented in 1891, it was made for a few years and comprised the second page of their 1893 catalogue, leading off a marvelous array of elaborate and whimsical forms. That catalogue is now reproduced and serves as one of the basic reference books for weathervane collectors (Pyne Press, 1971). An example of St. Julian is also documented on page 32 of Steve Miller's landmark text, "The Art of the Weathervane" (Shiffer Publishing, 1984).
The extraordinarily life-like form is particularly interesting due to its bold size and level of detail, but most especially due to its outstanding surface. I have seen this form on rare occasion, the last time being about three or four years ago, and it always grips your attention. Horse and sulkies are usually great, but this one is particularly so. And I have never seen its equal with regards to surface, which, in this case, is alligatored brown paint over the original gilding. Chrome yellow sizing (the primer coat) peeps through here and there, augmented by tinges of green verdigris.
Condition: There are several seam repairs with associated paint loss, and some small areas of paint restoration, but these do not encompass 5% of the overall surface area. The quality level of the vane and its otherwise original patina well deserve and support the minor amount of attention the associated losses were given. The driver once held a whip, which is absent, but can be fabricated if so desired. The form is so seldom seen and breathtaking that it is hard to miss.