The figurehead was a wooden decoration placed on the bow of a ship. On galleons its purpose was to indicate the vessel's name to people who didn't know how to read in addition to offering a display of the owner's wealth and power. The painting takes its name from a figurehead featuring a winged mermaid playing a trumpet and it turns on a large merry-go-round with a series of superb white horses. The horses stand almost monumental on the merry-go-round, but no one rides them. The light effect is tangible and gives body to the entire scene. It gives depth to the polished, waxed and lacquered surfaces of the necks, saddles and legs of the horses. It is a light that makes the colours bright and dazzling, immersing them in the sparkling world of dreams.