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Museum catalogue: Scrimshaw Collection

 

Scrimshaw

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Accession no.: Y: 62/15/47
Object name: Scrimshaw
Title: Scrimshaw
Description: Tooth 133 mm, polychrome: faded red, the motifs with American associations but rather strange forms. Woman with dove and Stars and Stripes; reverse: American ship.
Classified name:
[Unknown system] 730.235 & 639.245.1
Number of items: 1
Full description:

47A.: A large three masted warship has a rudimentary American ensign at the peak of the gaff and a strange mainmast pennant. The sails and some of the rigging look reasonable, but in detail many lines are in the wrong place or at the wrong angle, as if the image was copied but little understood. The gunports are unusual too: the upper (spar) deck has dark squares and light rectangles and the main deck the reverse.

47B.: Here an allegorical figure is used as an expression of patriotic feeling. A woman with a large star on her head and supporting a strangely deformed eagle, is draped around with a peculiar version of the American flag. At the top of its staff is a Liberty or Phrygian cap with its point extended into a drooping tassel. She combines aspects of Liberty (with the cap) and Columbia (with the star), but her looks are quite ordinary: the model may even have been known to the artist.

Dimensions:
  • Height: 133mm
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