Susan of Nantucket Scimshaw

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Description

Scrimshaw – the art of incising decorative motifs onto ivory – began on whaling ships in the Pacific Ocean between 1745 and 1759.

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Scrimshaw – the art of incising decorative motifs onto ivory – began on whaling ships in the Pacific Ocean between 1745 and 1759. It quickly became a popular pastime for whalers to help ease the boredom of long voyages.

Frederick Myrick is one of the most well known scrimshanders, probably because he was one of the few to sign and date his work. During his second whaling voyage aboard the Susan of Nantucket – from 1826 to 1829 – he produced 36 pieces of scrimshaw, 30 of which depict the Susan.

'Each piece [by Myrick] is a work of art with fine engraving and is unique, decorated with complex variations on a series of common themes. His ships and their rigging are so well depicted that some early nineteenth-century features are visible for the first time.' Janet West, Emerita Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

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Object Name

» scrimshaws

Dated

1829

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Materials

» tooth

Technique

» engraving (action)

Production place

» United States of America

Collection

» Folk Art Collection

Dimensions

7.3x15.2cm

Object number

1961.185

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