POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH ATTRIBUTED TO CALEB ALBRO Circa 1835-1847
Obverse depicts three vignettes. Upper vignette depicts an eagle perched on an anchor resting on a floating log, with an American flag on pole to the left. Central vignette is titled Sperm Whaling In the South Sea" in script lettering and depicts a whaling scene with whaleship and three whaleboats in pursuit of a diving sperm whale. Lower vignette depicts a spouting sperm whale. Reverse depicts an attractive woman wearing a bonnet and gown, holding an open parasol in her right hand and a handkerchief in her left hand. She is standing on a parquet floor beneath swaged draperies. (SC-1139)
Dimensions: Length 7.25".
Reference: In his appraisal of this tooth, Stuart M. Frank "confidently attributes" it to Caleb T. Albro of Jamestown and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, who sailed aboard the John Coggeshall of Newport from 1834 to 1847. According to Scrimshaw and Provenance: A Third Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists written by Frank (Mystic, Ct.: Stuart M. Frank and Mystic Seaport Museum, 2013), Albro was born probably in 1816 and served on one whaling voyage.
Reference: Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in The New Bedford Whaling Museum by Stuart Frank. Published by David R. Godine, Boston, 2012. Page 333. The tooth described is very similar to the Alboto tooth published on page 333 this tooth is signed "Ship John Coggeshall Newport" and dated 1835-April 12, 1839. The obverse has a very similar whaling scene above and engraved sperm whale. Both teeth are almost identical on the reverse with an engraving depicting a women in a long fancy dress with a curtain above and a patterned floor below.
Barbara Johnson Whaling Collection.
West Sea Company, 1997.
The Collection of Sam and Donna McDowell.
Exhibited at the Cahoon Museum Scrimshaw Exhibition titled “Scrimshaw the Whaler’s Art” June 29 - October 30, 2022.
Reference 2: This item is illustrated and described on page 111 of the book Wandering Whaleman and Their Art: A Collection of Scrimshaw Masterpieces by Alan Granby, Published by Alan Granby 2022.