Whale ivory and whalebone double swift with dog head clamp, American, circa 1850. This outstanding swift is constructed with 48 whalebone crisscrossed stays around the outside perimeter and 192 interior stays in a xx pattern. The base of the swift has a whale ivory table clamp carved in the form of a dog with an open mouth. This clever and amusing clamp has incised teeth, eyes and nostrils. Behind the dog's head is a well articulated carving of a full size dog. The set screw for the clamp has a beautifully articulated whale ivory set screw carved in the form of a clenched fist. The base of the swift has a baluster turned whale ivory section that travels up and down the whalebone shaft and is set into place by sliding whale ivory collar with original set screw. The top of the swift has a beautifully turned whale ivory cup finial above a turned whale ivory collar which holds the top of the stays together. (SC-989)
Condition: The swift is in excellent condition and retains most of the original red and white ribbons.
Reference: Frank, Stuart M., "Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved," Boston: David R. Godine, 2012, pp. 271-287. There are many examples of swifts shown and described on these pages. Provenance: Descended in the Chase and Swain families of Nantucket, and was found on Nantucket.
Dimension: Height 17 inches.