Item SCR4 - Engraved Baleen Plaque

Scrimshaw stand alone plaques are not commonly found made from baleen.  The present rare example is engraved on a relatively large and thick piece of Right Whale baleen.  The plaque is 14 ¾ inches long 3 ½ inches wide and as much as ¼” thick.  It is too short and too stiff to be either bent into a box or to function as busk.  There s some typical insect damage at either end and along one edge near the middle.  But this damage is slight and serves only to validate the material as baleen.  One side is carefully (and skillfully) engraved with a row of five buildings facing out, as along a street.  Four of these are dwellings and the fifth appears to be a public or commercial building of some sort.  The row of buildings are fronted by a series of at least three large flower pots, with flowers.  A graceful and well executed tree sits between the left-most house and its neighbor to the right.  All of the buildings present multi-pane windows and doors, with steps leading to each door.  While there is wear to the raised sections of the baleen, the engraving is careful and easily discerned.  This plaque is attributed to the “Dobson” family of Vernon, Connecticut.  Dr. Stuart Frank of the Scrimshaw Forensic Group at the New Bedford Whaling Museum has determined that the only documented whaleman from Vernon was William Dobson, son of Peter Dobson who who was born in Preston, England and who came to this country to work at the Colt Mfg Co, maker of firearms.  William (1814-1862) trained as a machinist and married Mary Stoughton in 1837.  His sole whaling voyage was in the bark Halcyon of New London, 1842-43.  He had signed up for subsequent voyage on the New London schooner Franklin in 1849, but resigned that post to go to the California gold rush on the steamer Hartford.  He later returned to Vernon as a machinist. Living next door to his widowed father and stepmother, with his wife and their four children.  He died there at the age of 48.  We can guess that the houses engraved on this plaque include his house and that of his father.  Good+


Price - $650.00

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