VERY FINE AND RARE WHALEBONE SCRIMSHAW WALL POCKET, NANTUCKET, MASSACHUSETTS, CIRCA 1870 mounted on a later carved wood and parcial-ebonized frame; together with documents from a whale ship. A unique tour de force, it is one of the largest genuine single pieces of scrimshaw in existence. The wall pocket mounted on the wall and used to hold newspapers, letters and magazines. It was constructed by sectioning very large slabs of whalebone from the panbone and working them into extremely complex, open-carved pieces, which were joined with copper rivets and pins. A unique tour de force, it is one of the largest scrimshaw items constructed entirely out of whalebone and whale ivory in a single piece of scrimshaw in existence.
Dimensions: Height 29, Width 25 7/8, Inches
Breckenridge-Long Collection, Nantucket
Frank Sylvia, Nantucket;
Barbara Johnson Collection, Nantucket
Osona Auction 1993, Nantucket
The wall pocket appears to have been in Nantucket no later than the 1920s and possibly before.
Hyland Granby Antiques,
Private Collection Martha’s Vineyard.
Dimensions: Height 29 in. by Width 25 ⅞in.
1. Robert Bishop, American Folk Sculpture (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc, 1972) no. 191, p. 115.
2. A. B. C. Whipple and the Editors of Time-Life Books, The Whalers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1979), illus. p. 131
3. Sotheby’s Barbara Johnson Sale IV December 16-17, 1983, Illustrated as Lot 419 and full-page color and the back cover.
4. Frederick Myrick of Nantucket Scrimshaw Catalogue Raisonne, Compiled by Donald Ridley and Stuart Frank, Published by Kendall Whaling Museum, Sharon MA, Pg. 9, The Susan's Tooth illustrated on this page was dated Jan. 1,1829 and is listed to having been owed by Breckinridge Wilcox of Potomic MD in the 1920's from an unknown source. She left it to her son Breckenridge Long who also inherited the wall pocket above. They had a large historic home in Nantucket and collected scrimshaw in the early20th century and obviously owed some very fine items.