Carven and painted carved pine box in the form of a three-dimensional sperm whale circa 1935. The top of the whale removed exposing a carved-out storage area. The whales eye mouth and fin are well articulated and the whale’s tale has a graceful flair and detailed rendering. The form for this whale box may have been copied from the form of the David Baker Cast Iron whale ornaments made in New Bedford in the 1840s. The top of the box has a pen and ink printed inscription which states:
“THIS SPERM WHALE MODEL WAS CRAFTED BY AN EMPOYEE OF THE STATE STREET Trust Co., IT WAS PART OF A 30 FOOT LONG TABLE ON THE BACK PLAZA AT “BROADSFIELDS” WESTWOOD, Alan Forbes and Josephine Crosby Forbes, in 1913, CELLEBRATED THEIR 25TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY AT “WHALING GAM” AND THIS WHALE WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH A MODEL OF A FULL RIGGED WHALING SHIP AND A WHALEBOAT, Crosby Forbes was born in THERE IS A SMALL HOLE ON THE SIDE FOR A HARPOON IN AF’S FOUR SONS WERE DRESSED AS SAILORS “AE” AS A CAPTAIN, AND JZB AS A CAPTAINS WIFE, ABOUT 80 PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO DINNER I WAS THIRTEEN AND I WAS THERE.
H.H. Crosby Forbes12/15/89”
Crosby Forbes was born in 1925 and was grandson of the China Trade merchant, Captain Bennet Forbes. He served in the Navy during the second world war. Fobes earned an under graduate degree at Harvard and then in 1950 and 1961 received his graduate degrees. Forbes was the founder of the American China Trade Museum which opened in 1964. Crosby Forbes also spent 20 years as curator of Asian export art at the Peabody Museum in Salem MA,.
The box states that Crosby was 13 at the party and since he was born in 1925 plus 13 years the party must have been in 1938 when the box was on the table with the whale ship model. It is likely that the whale was carved around 1935-1938.
Condition: There areas of paint loss on the lid. The whale is in excellent condition.
Dimensions: 22 1/2 inches, Height 6 inches, Thickness 3 inches