West Sea Company's


Page 1 of 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »

IDENTIFIED SHIP'S FIGUREHEAD. Spectacular 19th Century carved and painted wooden ship's figurehead from the North American bark EDINBURGH. This stunning example of the ship carver's art is dressed in classical attire, adornmed with a ribbon-carved gilt necklace and tiara, central oval brooch and bracelets on each wrist. She poses a striking stance, forward leaning with her right arm across her bosom as she stands on the original base, flanked by Acanthus scrolls. This important artifact was sculpted by the well known Canadian wood carver John Rogerson (1837-1925) who worked in St. John, New Brunswick in the second half of the 19th century. The figurehead stands 73 inches tall inclusive of its small wooden display pedestal and weighs approximately 400 pounds. It is in an outstanding state of preservation with approximately 90% original surfaces and paint.

The EDINBURGH was a Canadian-built and registered 3-masted barque of 203 1/2 feet launched by William Charland, Jr. of St. Joseph de Levis Quebec, Canada in 1883. After 26 years of service, she met her demise in the port of Bermuda where she foundered in 1909. This figurehead was first owned by the American Consul to Bermuda, William H. Allen and was proudly displayed in his garden for several years. In the 1920's she became the property of Francis Turnbull Meyer, a successful businessman from New York. Mr. Meyer, long a patron of the arts, donated the figurehead to the Addison Gallery of American Art at the Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts in 1933 where it was on public exhibit in the Maritime Wing until 2002.

This famous figurehead is well documented in associated literature. In the book "Shipcarvers of North America," M.V. Brewington, 1962, Barre publishing Co., Barre, Massachusetts, the entire page 94 is devoted to a full length photograph of the figurehead with accompanying text. In the landmark work "Treasury of American Design" by Clarence Hornung, published by Abrams, Inc., New York, 1976, the first chapter is entitled "Forgotten Figures Fore and Aft." The frontispiece of chapter I, page 6, is the full page image of this beautiful figurehead


MARINER'S QUADRANT. Huge, mid-18th C. Hadley reflecting quadrant (octant) with limbs of mahogany and a hand divided boxwood scale. The inlaid ivory maker's plaque is signed "Gregory, London." The working components of this handsome instrument are all present and of brass with the early form wooden "feet." Of special note are the mirror box adjustment locking thumbscrews on the reverse of the instrument which are made in the form of hearts! Also this example has the original interchangeable 2-filter  sun shades found on only the earliest of these reflecting instruments. The one piece wooden "crab claw" index arm measures 20 inches long overall and has an inlaid ivory "line of faith" which runs across the old style (pre-vernier) diagonally calibrated boxwood scale reading from 0 to 90 degrees with an accuracy of 2 arc minutes! Outstanding original condition, noting a few insignificant flaws as expected of a working maritime instrument 250 years old. A wonderful museum piece!

In 1732 John Hadley, an English mathematician, presented a paper to the Royal Society describing the use of a double reflecting "octant." At about the same time a Philadelphia glazier by the name of William Godfrey also described the same principle, receiving a prize from the Board of Longitude (of chronometer fame) for his work. However it was Hadley who generally received credit for the invention and whose design was quickly adopted by the mid 18th century London instrument makers such as Gregory. This is one of the instruments from that era.

Henry Gregory worked at the sign of the Azimuth Compass near the East India House, Leadenhall Street, London from 1750-1792. He was a maker of quadrants, compasses, globes, and mathematical instruments. His compasses were famous. His "improved azimuth compass" was praised by East India captains and the legendary Captain Cook specifically asked for it on his second voyage. (E.G.R. Taylor, "The Mathematical Practitioners of Hanoverian England 1714-1840.")


IMPORTANT PAINTING. Antonio N.G. Jacobsen, Danish-American (1850-1921), oil on canvas of the steam/sail liner BOTHNIA underway at sea with sails set and flying the American flag from the foremast. This is a spectacular painting exemplifying the great marine artist at his very best -- the early years. The detail and execution are truly exceptional. It is signed lower right "A. Jacobsen 1880 705 Palisade Ave., West Hoboken, NJ." It is of large size, measuring 28 x 48 inches, and is housed in a spectacular period carved and gilt wooden frame which measures 36 x 56 1/2 inches. This painting is in outstanding original condition. It was long ago relined and is on its original stretcher. It has just been professionally cleaned and conserved, exhibiting very little inpainting. Certainly one of the earliest and most impressive Jacobsen paintings currently available in the world!

The name Antonio Jacobsen has become synonymous with American marine art of the 19th century. By 1873 the young Danish immigrant had embarked on his life's work as a port painter, ultimately becoming the most prolific maritime artist in American history if not the world. According to current "conservative" estimates Jacobsen painted no less than 5,000 ship paintings, with some experts placing the figure as high as 8,000+ paintings! It is felt that in order to produce such numbers, Jacobsen (aided by his family) literally "mass produced" paintings in his later years. By 1880, at age 30 and only 7 years into his career when this portrait was painted, Jacobsen's total output numbered a mere 248 (Harold Sniffen, "Antonio Jacobsen, Painted Ships on Painted Oceans," Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA, 1994, p. 24), placing it in the top 5% in terms of age and attention to detail.

HALF HULL WITH PROVENANCE. Important late 18th or very early 19th century American shipbuilder's half block model of a merchantman or whaleship. This genuine builder's half hull is constructed in 7 laminated pine lifts and is mounted to its original backboard. Below the waterline the hull is in natural wood finish which has acquired a very deep, rich brown age patina. Above the waterline the bulwark is painted black with a defining line of natural wood at the main deck level. As is characteristic of these early builder's models, this one is held together by two large mortised tapering rectangular pegs extending from top to bottom through the laminations. The original applied bowsprit, keel, and rudder are attached to the backboard, which is also original and in its original dark olive green paint which shows good wear and cracilature. Surrounding the backboard is the original bead molding in natural mahogany. The model itself measures 34 inches long; 38 inches long overall inclusive of the unusally upward thrusting bowsprit. The backboard is 42 1/2 inches long by 10 1/4 inches high exclusive of the hanging brackets. The extremely blunt, bluff bow on this model indicates a ship from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, and as such is one of earliest American builder's models in existence. This fact combined with its original state of preservation and impeccable provenance make it a truly spectacular offering. Circa 1800.

Provenance. This is an original builder's half hull model from the collection of The Port Mission of Baltimore City which was founded in 1885 "for purposes beneficial to seamen visiting the port of Baltimore City, Maryland." In an accompanying letter from W. Austin Kenly, the current director, this information is provided: One of the nine organizing directors was George W. Corner of the firm James Corner & sons, founded by his father in 1828. The firm owned and operated several clipper ships out of the Port of Baltimore which were employed in trade with Europe, South America, Australia, and ports of the United States. Seven ship models (of which this was the oldest example) were recently sold at auction. These had been continuously mounted on a wall in our building and it is the understanding of the current Mission directors, some of whom have been in association with the Mission dating back to the early 1930's, that the models had been on that wall since before 1900. Additionally it is our understanding that they were models of some of the ships owned and operated by the shipping firm of James Corner & Sons and that they had been donated to The Mission by Mr. George W. Corner. Included with a copy of Mr. Kenly's letter is a copy of the original charter of The Mission (dated 1885) and various articles and clippings relating to James Corner and his son George.

REFLECTING HALF CIRCLE. Extremely rare and very desirable French reflecting circle of brass with inlaid silver scale divided from 0 to 180 degrees on either side of the zero point only. This magnificent precision instrument measures 10 1/2 inches in diameter and is signed "LORIEUX, LEPETIT suc Paris No 313" on the arc and is also marked "SH 140" on the index arm. The original dove-tailed fitted mahogany case with brass hardware also bears the brass tag reading "Service Hydrographique Cercel Hydrographique Lorieux Lepetit suc Paris No. 140." Within the case compartments are filled with optics, filters, sun shades, and accessories. In the lid are two old labels, one reading "A. Berthelemy . Lorieux . P. Ponthus Instruments de Precision 6 Rue Victor Considerant, Paris." The instrument, with folding turned hardwood handle, was obviously used in the French Hydrographic Service for charting and mapping. Its quality and precision therefore cannot be understated. Its rarity and condition are exceptional. Unquestionably a genuine museum piece befitting of a world class collection.

Provenance: An old and very interesting typed 3 page document is included which indicates that this instrument once belonged to a young man who traded it for a short wave radio. His search to determine what his new acquisition was is documented, including discussions with the curator of the Mariners' Museum, captains of Dutch and Japanese ships, the Naval attaché to the French Consul, the U.S. Hydrographic Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, and even the editor of the local town Newspaper! It is likely that the town was Norfolk, Virginia and the time was around the second World War.


MATCHED SCRIMSHAW PAIR. Very rare, matched pair of genuine 19th century signed and dated American scrimshawed whale teeth with patriotic motifs. This lovely set is profusely engraved on all surfaces, accented with polychroming. The focal image is that of a uniformed sailor in classic attire with flat hat and kerchief, holding an octant in his right hand. He stands on deck with his left hand resting on a Naval cannon. Stacked cannon balls, a large draped American flag and a Union shield fill out the scene. The planked wooden deck of the ship is depicted at his feet and in the background are the ship's ratlines framing a spread winged American eagle perched on the ship's rail. The date "1877" is prominently engraved at the top of the tooth. The reverse bears a classic image of seated Lady Liberty with Liberty cap, holding a quiver of arrows and flanked by an American eagle perched atop a column, a Union shield and draped American flag. The second matching tooth is adorned by the image identified as "HOPE" on a pennant above the American flag. She is shown with the well known symbolism of an anchor on one flank and a sailing ship flying the American flag on the other. The tooth is signed with the initials "E.A.G." The reverse of this tooth depicts Lady Columbia with her helmet, holding the American flag on a standard, flanked by a Union shield on her left and a large American sailing ship on her right. These two teeth are unquestionably from the same whale and done by the same hand. The engraving is deep and well executed with a charming naiveté indicative of the period from whence they came. They measure just under 4 1/2 inches high by 2 1/4 inches wide each. Condition is outstanding with both teeth being very sound and exhibiting excellent age patina. Certainly one of the nicest pairs of authentic signed and dated scrimshaw to come on the American market in recent memory. Museum Quality!


RING DIAL. Rare, early 18th C. ring dial carried by mariners and travelers alike and used for telling the time of day by position of the sun. This all brass English-made dial features a bridge with sliding pinhole sight, engraved with calendar and declination scales, and signs of the Zodiac on the reverse. The meridian ring is divided with every degree of latitude, north and south, while the equatorial ring is divided down to 1/8 hour intervals with Roman numeral markings. A lovely, rare old instrument in original condition, measuring 4 3/4 inches in diameter.

Ex. Flayderman collection

DIVING HELMET. Very rare, first quarter 20th C. American diving helmet by the Miller Dunn company of Miami, Florida. This "Style I" shallow water diving helmet is constructed entirely of copper and brass with a single gooseneck air inlet and circular glass viewing port. Remarkably simple yet surprisingly effective, this innovative form of diving rig was the first of its type to afford general access for submerged work and ships' hull inspections previously limited only to specialty salvage companies and governmental agencies with complex and costly apparatus. 21 inches tall. Outstanding original, as last dived, condition with no major flaws, dents, or repairs. Circa 1910.

Subsequent models of the Miller Dunn company's production, the Styles II and III, were manufactured in the 1920's and the 1940's respectively.

SAILOR'S VALENTINE. Rare, and highly sought after mid-19th C. shellwork valentine of the type purchased by sailors in the Caribbean during the second half of the 1800's. This excellent example is of the double folding (diptych) type, with octagonal cases of Spanish Cedar hinged in the middle and equipped with a hook and eye for closure. Each of the two displays is composed of literally hundreds if not thousands of colorful sea shells meticulously arranged into charming vignettes. The endearment "FORGET ME NOT" is central to "sun rays" of radiating shells on the left, while on the right a heart is encircled by floral bouquets -- all fashioned from individual shells in their brilliant original colors. This large size valentine measures 10 inches wide across the flats and 20 1/2 inches wide when open. It is in outstanding original condition retaining the old wavy glass, and represents one of the nicest of these scarce sailor momentos to come on the market in quite some time.


CAMPAIGN CHEST WITH DESK. Fine mid-19th century English seagoing campaign chest of drawers made of solid oak with secondary woods of teak and rosewood. This classic piece of shipboard furniture is of the type used by sea captains, with a central drop front writing desk. It has a leather writing surface, cubby holes, and large drawer with ivory pulls. The patented lever lock is signed "Braman, London." The writing surface folds out by activating 2 brass latches, one on each side, and folds up with a positive stop when not in use. The desk compartment is flanked by smaller drawers on each side and sits atop 3 full width drawers below. This is a stacking chest, made in 2 parts to accommodate portability on and off the ship. It is of the highest quality, being of hand dove-tailed construction with solid teak drawer bottoms and sides reinforced by interior quarter round molding and hefty center struts. Each drawer retains its original solid brass folding drop handles inset into the drawer face with a flush mount and each bears its original brass lever lock with skeleton key escutcheon. This chest is entirely brass-bound on all corners and sides for beauty and strength. It stands 39 inches high, 39 inches wide and 18 1/2 inches deep. It is in good original condition and finish, noting acceptable wear and tear expected of a piece of furniture of this type that is 150 years old. Very scarce and highly desirable in this configuration.

This fine ship's furniture comes directly from the Beverly Hills, California estate of the famous late screen actor Rod Steiger. Original documentation will be provided to the purchaser.

IMPORTANT VERY EARLY TELESCOPE. Unbelievable very early 18th century English sea captain's l-o-n-g glass. This very impressive relic from the early days of sail measures 62 inches long closed and an amazing 6 feet in length fully extended! The original objective lens is of the early single piece, chromatic type measuring only 1 3/8 inch in diameter. It is etched with the number "48" and is housed within its brass retainer with original spring-loaded dust slide. The all brass draw tube is of the very early style with no stop having a "nipple" type eye cup with built-in sliding dust cover. This telescope contains a very rare and unusual 5 element erecting system (vs. the "normal" 4 present in virtually all mid-18th century and later telescopes) with each individual lens held in with threaded brass retainers. These are not "rolled in" as seen in later telescopes. The optical elements are completely original and the quality of workmanship evidenced in their construction and placement is absolutely superb. Of particular note is the fact that this telescope is the highly desirable "decahedral" or 10-sided type with a slight taper. The huge wooden body is formed out of a single solid piece of lovely mahogany in outstanding condition, in its original finish, showing good age and use but no abuse whatsoever. A museum quality telescope of the finest order. From our personal collection of 25 years.

State-of-the-art glass manufacturing and lens grinding in the late 16 and early 1700's did not lend itself to the production of large occlusion free refractive lenses. One means of overcoming these early deficiencies was for telescope manufacturers to increase the focal length (and thus the power) of their relatively small diameter lenses. This led to the production of some long and powerful, but rather unwieldy telescopes when used in a hand-held application on the deck of a rolling ship. Indeed, some early telescopes were actually produced for use as "two man" devices! In an effort to minimize this drawback early makers attempted to make their telescopes as light as possible. The materials used included vellum covered paper and hollow wooden tubes, as in this example. By the mid-1700's and Peter Dollond's introduction of the achromatic lens, telescope manufacturing entered the "new age" with the production of the more familiar multi-draw telescope of shorter length with larger and more powerful optical glass.

MINIATURE PLANKED BOAT MODEL. Absolutely exquisite model of a small boat with lapstrake construction, probably British and from the early part of the 19th century. This antique scale model is of builder's quality, and was likely an exhibition piece for the Royal Navy. It is planked and pinned in a realistic manner, faithful to building techniques used in the actual construction of such a vessel. It is beautifully executed down to the most minute detail including an amazing array of tiny wooden and brass fittings. The interior longitudinal portion consists of a long slotted wooden rail which is mortised in the forward and amidships positions for the insertion of masts, making this a 2-masted schooner rigged sailing barge; further equipped with a brass fitting near the stem which would have held a bow sprit. The interior is fitted with 6 thwarts which would accommodate up to 12 oarsmen. A standard distance from the thwart to the oarlock of 18 inches indicates that this boat was approximately 36 feet in length -- certainly the largest carried by a capital sailing ship in the early 1800's. The model measures 19 1/2 inches long and 7 inches at the beam. It is in an outstanding state of preservation retaining its original mustard white and green paint with gold bead trim, all with a nice old patina and cracilature. Without question this is the finest models of its type we have ever seen offered, and it is certainly worthy of the finest museum collection! Complete with museum-type custom display stand of solid teak and brass.

In a rare antiquarian book entitled "STANDARD BOATS OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY" by Chief Constructor Philip Hichborn, U.S.N., Government Printing Office, Washington, 1900, a similar, if not smaller and obviously much later boat is depicted on Plates 168 and 170, described as a "30 Foot Barge." Interestingly, from the "Schedule Of Costs, Material And Labor" such a boat built in 1900 would have taken 361 1/2 man days to construct at a cost of $1,563.02!

TOGGLE HARPOON. Exceptionally rare, possibly unique, 19th century American whaling harpoon made by James A. Sawyer of New Bedford, as stamped "J.A.S." on the toggle. This extraordinary darting iron is made on the modified Temple Toggle design with pivoting head. What is remarkable is its unusual, inexplicably long shaft which terminates in the standard tapered shank with a mounting tang that could be wedged into lugs at the side of a darting gun. Just forward of the mounting tang, a loop is forged to the side of the shank for attachment to the whale line. Used in combination with the bomb lance of the darting gun, such an arrangement proved to be very effective in capturing whales. This harpoon measures an incredible 72 inches long, fully 32 inches longer than the longest recorded example -- almost double the length! Excellent original condition with a nice original surface and age patina.

In his reference book "Harpoons and Other Whalecraft," 1984, Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Mass., author Thomas Lytle depicts and describes numerous American darting irons in public and private collections. Fully the longest measures 39 1/4 inches! Both Mr. Lytle and the curatorial staff of the New Bedford Whaling Museum are aware of the existence of this harpoon and are at a loss to explain its unusual size!

19TH C. SHIP'S BELL CLOCK. Massive American ship's bell clock from the late 1800's. This impressive 8-day ship's clock has a large white porcelain dial signed "Manufactured By Waterbury Clock Co., U.S.A., Jewelled movement." It has bold Arabic numerals, blued steel spade hands, and a minute chapter ring. The dial is in perfect condition and measures 7 1/2 inches in diameter. It is encircled by a polished brass reflector ring which supports the large convex glass crystal. The flared brass bezel is decoratively scalloped and is hinged for easy access to the dial for winding and setting. The lovely solid brass case measures 10 inches across and weighs in at a hefty 13 pounds! It is also extremely deep, protruding 5 1/2 inches from the bulkhead. This handsome old veteran is a very good time keeper having just been professionally serviced. It strikes the ship's bell sequence loudly with a very pleasing sonorous bell tone thanks to a large solid brass sounding board within and its large resonating size. One of the first true ship's bell clocks to be manufactured in America and certainly the most beautiful. Circa 1890.

WRITING DESK. Truly exceptional first half of the 19th century Captain's type portable writing desk of unusual quality and complexity. This compact item of furniture is constructed of rich mahogany and is elaborately inlaid with brass-bound corners and fittings to an extent we have not encountered before. The top of the lid is fitted with a large decorative and functional flush-folding carrying handle flanked on all four sides by equally decorative inlaid "fleur-de-lis" brass corners. Unlocking the desk with the original brass skeleton key reveals a spring loaded compartment in the lid which pops forward providing two large scallop edged slots for the filing of documents and letters. The stout brass "L-shaped" hinges are equipped with right angle lid stops which hold the lid in an open position. The lower portion of the desk holds a removable "tray" which doubles as a frame for displaying three photographs or pictures. Removing this tray uncovers another shallow compartment below. Conversely, folding out this same section exposes the writing slope which is covered in its original blue cloth covering. Another set of compartments is provided for writing implements and the like, while lifting the upper portion of the hinged writing slope reveals yet another large and deep compartment with a shelf below! This handsome multipurpose desk in the classic campaign style measures 16 inches wide, 10 1/2 inches deep, and 6 1/2 inches high. Some expected age cracks exist in the very bottom which neither affect the desk's visual appeal nor its integrity. Otherwise it is in outstanding restored condition and is fully functional as originally configured. Probably English, circa 1840. A most impressive early writing slope.


DECORATIVE SCRIMSHAW SEAM RUBBER. Simply outstanding mid-19th century sailor's seam rubber made from a single piece of whale tooth! This beautifully carved seaman's tool has a curved handle conforming to the contour of the tooth from which it was made, fitting perfectly into the user's palm! The "working" end blade is of typical broad, wedge-shaped form and is connected to the handle by a shaft meticulously carved in the form of a Turk's head knot. This is a working tool which evidences good use with nice even wear and great patina. 4 3/4 inches long and in excellent original condition. A superb example of decorative utilitarian scrimshaw. By far the finest seam rubber we have ever offered!

A similar, but less decorative seam rubber is held in the collection of the Nantucket Historical Society. A nearly identical seam rubber, by the same hand, sold in the Summer of 2000 at Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, NH for $2,800.


18TH C. QUADRANT. Large late 18th century mariner's quadrant with limbs of rosewood and inlaid ivory maker's plaque signed "*WELLINGTON * LONDON *." This lovely early instrument has an engraved ivory scale reading from 0 to 98 degrees, marked in 5 degree increments and subdivided to 20 arc minutes. The zero right reading vernier allows readings to an accuracy of a single arc minute. The large flat brass index arm with thumb screw stop and no fine adjust tangent screw, is indicative of the state-of-the-art in such instruments from the 1780's and 90's. This instrument is absolutely complete and original with dual fore peep equipped with pivoting shutter, backsight, all three mirror boxes, a complete set of interchangeable filters, index arm stop, ivory note pad on the reverse, and even the original turned ivory pencil for recording observations! This impressive instrument measures 16 inches high over the length of the index arm. It is in a simply amazing state of preservation with sharp, crisp edges and virtually all of the original lacquer still present on the brass surfaces! The wood and ivory are equally pristine and exhibit a mellow untouched age patina. This quadrant is housed in its original stepped pine case which bears the magnificent old trade label of "Bleuler, London" depicting an image of a very similar quadrant among other instruments of the era. The case itself is in good sound condition, unmodified and original, showing expected wear but no abuse and with a deep age patina. This instrument probably ranks as the most pristine and original of its type that we have ever handled. Unquestionably a museum piece!

Alexander Wellington worked as an optician and mathematical instrument maker at Crown Court, St. Ann's in Soho London from 1784 until 1812. Interestingly, he was succeeded by his wife, Mary, one of only a handful of women working in the trade at that time.

John Bleuler was an optician and mathematical instrument maker who worked at 27 Ludgate Street, London from 1791 to 1822. He was apprenticed to the famous maker Henry Shuttleworth, and was a noted maker of chronometers, octants, and sextants. Gloria Clifton, "Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851."

SAILING YACHT HALF HULL. Exceptional second half of the 19th century builder's half hull model of an American racing yacht. This lovely model represents a large sailing schooner which probably carried two masts. The sleek, narrow beam hull indicates she was built with an eye for speed. This classic half block model is constructed in the traditional laminated manner with an amazing 16 lifts! in pleasingly varying shades of mahogany and/or perhaps walnut. It is equipped with stem, keel, and a very finely contoured rail at the turn of the deck. A large applied rudder is fitted at the base of the gracefully overhanging transom. The model is mounted to its original thin oak backboard which is chamfered on the edges and retains its original variegated finish showing great age. There is a provision on the reverse of the backboard for hanging the model. The board measures 29 inches long and 7 inches high. A really graceful, early yacht half hull just the way everyone likes them -- UNTOUCHED!

U.S. NAVY "BIG EYES". Absolutely INCREDIBLE! mounted pair of Navy bridge binoculars from the early part of the last century. These impressive binoculars with state-of-the-art optics are marked in front of the eyepieces "U.S. NAVY BUR. OF SHIPS SHIP BINOCULAR MK 1-1 U.S. NAVAL GUN FACTORY (N) 000075." The lens systems consists of HUGE 120 mm achromatic objective lenses with gas filled prisms. The oculars retain their original rubber eye cups. The body of these massive binoculars is aluminum in original gun metal paint with all brass fittings and measures approximately 2 feet in length. They are mounted to a period, all brass Navy ship's pedestal with a maker's plaque reading "STEERING STAND Made By Sperry, Brooklyn, N.Y., Made In U.S.A." The binoculars have a built-in set of brass handles with rubber grips for the purpose of training and elevation. The action is smooth and tight and the stand has the additional feature of a side-mounted knob which locks the binoculars into a given position when rotated. The stand is mounted to a massive solid teakwood base that measures 17 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. The entire presentation stands 5 feet tall as shown and is in absolutely pristine condition in all respects. The optics on this set produce a clear, highly magnified stereoscopic image of the most incredible quality imaginable. Circa 1940.


P.O.W. BONE MODEL. Genuine turn of the 19th century (circa 1800) ship model constructed by French prisoners of the British during the Napoleonic Wars. This 96 gun ship of the line is constructed entirely of beef bone and baleen, and is realistically rigged with human hair! The fretwork and carving in the bulwarks, stern galleries, figurehead, and elsewhere are of the highest order. Rigging is extremely fine, with bone blocks, thimbles and dead eyes all individually reeved and knotted. The hull is planked and pinned. The figurehead and gun ports are subtly polychromed for a very realistic effect. As these models go this is a relatively small one making every aspect of its near scale construction all the more difficult and remarkable. Condition is excellent and original. The model itself measures 10 inches long overall and 9 1/2 inches high. It is housed in an antique Georgian domed glass case on a crotch mahogany base 13 1/2 inches long and 14 inches high.

In his book "Prisoner of War Ship Models 1775-1825," Ewart Freeston notes in chapter 8, "The bone, ivory and tortoiseshell models vary considerably in size, from tiny ships of less than two inches long, up to really huge vessels of five or six feet and more. But the majority are in the neighborhood of between twelve and twenty-four inches long. Generally speaking, the smaller ones, up to about twelve inches, are the more interesting and fascinating, and seem to have the greatest appeal since one can take in the whole model at a glance and marvel at the dexterity so clearly displayed." This book is available through West Sea Company on our Catalog Page 7.

This model was a focal piece in an exhibit mounted by the San Diego Maritime Museum entitled "Masterpieces in Miniature."

Page 1 of 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »

© 1998-2013 West Sea Company. All rights reserved.