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Brian Goodison-Blanks
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About Brian Goodison-Blanks
Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood. He is based at Honiton in Devon.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, June 05, 2013

When Herman Melville (1819-1891) wrote Moby Dick (1851), he produced not only one of the greatest works of literature, but also an important historical record of the Nantucket whaling industry in the 19th century. Included within one of Ishmael’s narratives is a reference to the art of scrimshaw or ‘scrimshander’ that is as popular today, as it was at the time of Melville’s writing. 

 

a 19th century scrimshaw decorated tooth with britannia decoration

A 19th century scrimshaw decorated tooth with Britannia decoration (MA13/227)
Estimate £200-£300

The design and decoration varies a great deal depending upon the age of the piece and of course the skill of the artist. Simple ship portraits and whaling scenes are the most common to be found for a few hundred pounds at auction, the value increasing with better detail and naming of known ships. Of course being at sea for months at a time inevitably led to more erotic scenes being produced (some even dispelling the myth that the Victorian’s were prudish!) and these can make up to several thousand pounds in a Maritime sale

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Maritime sale of 12th June 2013, Dowell Street, Honiton has a number of pieces of scrimshaw included in the sale with varying degrees of decoration. The 19th century scrimshaw shown here (MA13/227) is a good example with an interesting interpretation of Britannia to one side and should easily surpass its pre-sale estimate of £200-£300.
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Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:34:53 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Maritime | Scrimshaw & Sailors Art | Trackback

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