SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH WITH PORTRAIT OF THE SHIP CYANE Mid-19th Century. The obverse is engraved with a fine portrait of the U.S. Navy sloop-of-war flying a long pennant from the central mast and a large American flag off the stern. ""Cyane"" in rectangular cartouche below portrait. Interesting worm-like depiction of the water. Reverse depicts a weeping willow flanked by memorial monuments, one topped with an urn and the other with a harpoon-like design flanking the intentionally illegible inscription. The grass has a similar worm-like pattern as the water on the obverse. A delicate vine wraps around the circumference of the tip and suspends conjoined laurel wreaths that trail down both edges of the tooth. A similar vine and a faint sawtooth border encircles the base and top of the tooth.
Condition: The tooth is in excellent condition. the tooth is very broad and has a mellow age patina
Dimensions: Length 6 1/4, Width 3 3/4, Inches
Note: The Cyane was launched in December 1837 at Boston Navy Yard and was originally under the command of John ""Mad Jack"" Percival, who was born in West Barnstable, on Cape Cod. She served off the West Coast during the Mexican-American War and was lauded for her significant contributions to American victory. Interestingly, seaman William H. Meyers served aboard the Cyane in the 1840s, a decade after he was onboard the whaleship Ceres.
Reference 1`: Third Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists by Stuart M. Frank (Mystic, Ct.: Stuart M. Frank and Mystic Seaport Museum, 2013), p. 189,
Reference 2: Meyers's ink and watercolor journal illustrations are believed to have been the source material for the body of scrimshaw produced by the so-called ""Ceres Artisans"".
Note: The two rare book References 3 & 4 that are listed below are included with the tooth.
Refererence 3: JOURNAL OF A CRUISE TO CALIFORNIA AND THE SANDWICH ISLANDS IN THE UNITED STATES SLOPP-OF-WAR CYANE by William H. Meyers, Gunnewr, U.S.N., 1841-1844 edited by John Gaslell Kemble, San Francisco, The Book Club of California 1955.
Reference 4: SKETCHES OF CALIFORNIA AND HAWAII BY WILLIAM H. MEYERS, GUNNER, U.S.N. ABOARD THE UNITED STATES SLOOP-OF- WAR, CYANE 1842-1843 WITH AN INTRODUCTION & NOTES BY JOHN HASKELL KEMBLE, THE BOOK CLUB OF CALIFORNIA; 1970
Provenance: Nina Hellman, Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The Collection of Paul Vardeman."