Eldred's - Auctioneers, Appraisers

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Item Details

Lot #109
DepartmentScrimshaw
Low Estimate$3,000.00
High Estimate$4,000.00
Last UpdatedJune 18, 2019

Description

POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH DEPICTING AN ACTRESS AND MAZEPPA Mid-19th Century
Obverse depicts the famous actress Mdm. Celine Celeste in her favorite role as Miami, Huntress of the Mississippi", sourced from a print published in The Illustrated London News in 1845. (A similar view of Madame Celeste as Miami was also published by Currier & Ives.) She is depicted standing on a pattered carpet, with a headdress and feather in her hair, a rifle slung across her back and wearing a tiered short dress. Reverse is an illustration of Lord Byron's 1819 poem "Mazeppa", based on the legend of Ivan Mazepa (16391709), a military leader of Ukraine. Scene depicts a dark cloud and red lightning bolts above a raven hovering over a man tied naked to a steed as it crosses a river while being chased by fearsome wolves. Length 5.75".
In the poem, Mazeppa is tied to the steed as punishment for consummating his love with the beautiful Theresa. The horse is taunted and set loose, galloping across Eastern Europe with boundless energy. Mazeppa nearly dies twice, but one time is restored when the horse swims across a river. He also has a vision of a raven flying overhead, ready to feast on his corpse. This image appears on at least two other teeth, one sold at Eldred's, July 29, 2005, Lot #524, and one sold at Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 18-19, 2012, Lot #716. All three are believed to be from the same hand and same jaw.
Provenance:
Frank Sylvia, Sr., Nantucket, Massachusetts.

The Collection of Paul Vardeman."

Condition

Small chip at tip. Typical age lines at tip. Some age cracks/lines at base, longest approx. 1.25."

The description of the item above may not be the final version used in the catalog. The descriptions are as yet unedited and may contain mistakes. The description, estimates and photos could all be wrong. In rare cases they may not end up in this sale. Once the items have received their lot number the descriptions will have been changed if needed.

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