Antique Scrimshaw whale rib
This is a lovely example of early 19th century folk art.
As you can see, this whale rib is engraved with a plethora of nautical themes including whales, sea serpents, harpoons, mermaids, volcanoes and compasses. This is no great shakes when it comes to artistic merit, but I think that this may have been a practice piece carved by an inexperienced ship-hand on a whaling boat, to try to acquire the skills before attempting to carve a whale tooth. The naivety of the design and simplistic carving is charming.
From the style, design and the base I think that this is early 19th century and must have been someone's treasured possession for them to have mounted it on a plinth like this.
This is a really tactile piece and has gained a lovely patina over all these years. It looks like it has been polished for many years with beeswax as this has filled in the irregularities and holes within the bone itself.
The rib is mounted on an a turned wooden base and stands 60cm high by 17.5cm diameter. There is a small piece missing from the base as can be seen in the photographs.
A lovely example of this nautical folk art and would make a great addition to any collection.