MADE ON BOARD OF BARQUE ALLBREE* OF MYSTIC BY J.D.G. A.D. 1846 ON HER RETURNING HOME FROM THE COAST OF KAMSCHATCA,” with ornaments of floral urns and wrap around leaf vines. The top here is elaborately inlaid with ivory, ebony, cherry, mahogany, rosewood, abalone, and mother-of-pearl in a 10-pointed star motif, with two twin hearts and bloodstones at the north and south extremes — an extravagant feature that suggests a more sophisticated level of carpentry. The top and base have scalloped joints with metal pins. On the base the scallops provide the shape followed by interlocking engraved hearts. All of the engraved decoration is filled with a gold leaf wash which is a possibly unique embellishment to baleen engraved decoration.
Note: On the 1844-47 voyage of the obscure Bark Allbree the original captain, William T. Burrows,
came home sick; his successor, Luke J. Avery, was killed by a whale in 1846; a Captain Strain
(whose given name is not recorded) was skipper when the Allbree called at Honolulu in October
1846; and A.G. Taylor evidently relieved him before the vessel returned to Connecticut in April
1847 — remarkably, with a much better-than-average catch.
The inscription on the box is J.D.G. however the closest in record is Jacob B. Gardner, Jr., born in New London in 1826. The son of Jacob B. Gardner, Sr. and Augusta Matilda Emmons, he was issued a Protection paper at New London in 1844 and sailed on a Northwest Coast (Western Arctic) whaling voyage in the New London ship Henry Thompson. He must later have transferred to the Allbree, perhaps in connection with the departure and death of the first two captains and the reshuffling that inevitably followed. In 1850 he was back with his parents in New London, with his occupation recorded as “mariner,” after which the record is silent.
Condition: The box is in fine condition. There are a few typical tiny chip like loses around the base. There is an age crack in the baleen band at the base of the top.
Dimensions: H: 5; W 10 ½; Depth 7 7/8 inches
Reference:"Wondering Whalemen and their Art: A Collection of Scrimshaw Masterpieces" The top of the box is shown life size as Chapter Twelve "Boxes" on page 187. There are six pictures of the box and a description on pages 209-210.