Fine scrimshaw whalebone and whale ivory boxed swift, American, mid-19th Century. The swift has a round ivory base with circular concentric scribe lines on the top. There are four cylinder-shaped posts supporting a matching disk which has polychrome green and red scribed circles on the top. Separating the two disks are turned red and green polychrome posts and mounted to the top disk are four urn-shaped finials mounted above each of the posts. The swift has a whalebone shaft and whale ivory fancy turned and scribed fittings on either end of the shaft holding the stays in place. The lower fitting retains its original ivory set screw. The swift has a large bulbous whale Ivory turned and polychromed cup finial. The exterior of each stay is scribed along each face; one line is filled with green and the opposite with red pigment.
The swift is mounted on a removable mahogany rectangular box. The box has its original hinges and a fitted interior. Along the front of the interior are five compartments. On the right side is a compartment with a fitted lid with a turned ivory pull over a whalebone diamond-shaped inlay. The remaining part of the interior is open. The top of the box has a sloped beveled border with inlaid hearts at the center of each side with red polychrome borders. There are turned and scribed red polychrome acorn finials mounted to each corner of the flat raised surface of the box. The top surface has inlaid hearts, regular-shaped diamonds and elongated diamonds with red polychrome scribed borders. All four sides of the top and bottom of the box have a heart inlay flanked with a pair of diamond whalebone inlays and there is an ivory pull mounted to the center of the top which is used to lift top from base. All of the inlays have red scribed borders. The heart inlay at the center of the front of the box has a specially engraved scrimshaw background with the word “LOVE” engraved in a stylized font in red and green polychrome. At the corners of all four sides are turned and banded ebony split columns. The box sits on four feet made from the tips of polished whales’ teeth. The swift’s shaft fits through a hole at the center of the box and retains the original whale ivory nut which holds the swift in place when tightened against the threads of the bottom of the shaft.
Condition: The swift is missing one set of stays; it is in excellent condition with some typical age cracking and has a mellow age patina. The box is in excellent condition and all of the inlays are original. One of the feet is replaced.
Dimensions: Height of Swift 17”, Height of Box 7 3/8”, Width 13”, Depth 9 inches.