Canada or America, Mid-19th Century


One of the fanciest and well-constructed ship's wheels we have examined, commemorating Edward Prince of Wales's trip to Canada and the United States in 1860. In mahogany and oak with brass diamond, stud and stylized floriform inlay and eight beautifully turned handles and spokes. Turned hub with a heavy brass ring around the perimeter and a central brass plate engraved "Str. Forest Queen Union Line 1848". Two brass plaques mounted on opposite sides of the wheel, one engraved "This is the Wheel that A.E. Prince of Wales assisted in Steering the Steamer on his Excursion to Fredericton 1860", and the other "A.E. Prince of Wales Excursion Trip on River St. John up to F'ton Aug. 4th down to St. John 7th 1860". Plaques probably applied after the wheel was removed from the ship. Further modified with a mounting plate affixed to the back so it can be secured to a wall and 5" turned posts applied to the front at each spoke for hanging hats and coats. Beautiful age patina. Includes a copy of The Prince Of Wales In Canada and The United States, which describes the trip.
Diameter 48". Depth 7.5".
Condition: There are a few typical age cracks around the hub. One of the turned posts has been replaced. The back of the wheel has a dark stain covering the inlay. The wheel is in generally excellent condition with a warm age patina.

The absence of a condition report does not imply an object is free of defects. All items may have normal signs of age and wear commensurate with their age; these issues will likely not be mentioned in the condition report. Please contact Eldred's before the auction with any condition questions. Questions about condition will not be answered after purchase. Condition reports are provided as a courtesy, and we are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Important note on frames: Frames are not guaranteed to be in the same condition as they are in the item photograph. Due to handling and shipping, many frames, especially antique ones, are prone to losses. If you have questions about the condition of a frame, please contact us prior to the auction. 

  • Provenance:
    The collection of Jean E. and Joseph G. Sawtelle, illustrated in their book Maritime Portsmouth: The Sawtelle Collection edited by Richard M. Candee.

    August 4, 1860
    New York Times coverage of the trip indicated the prince went onboard the Forest Queen and included a "Map of the Route of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales".

    The Prince Of Wales In Canada and The United States by N.A. Woods (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1861), p. 49 notes "Here on the Kennebekasis River, a noble branch of the St. John, the royal party embarked on board the 'Forest Queen' and went by water up to Fredericton ...". The volume also has a fold-out "Map of the Route of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales" at the front.

    Prince Edward, the eldest son of Queen Victoria, was the first member of the Royal family to ever visit North America. Huge celebrations welcomed the 19-year-old heir to the throne wherever he went, and crowds followed him in the streets. During part of his trip, the prince traveled aboard the "Forest Queen", a steamship that plied the St. John River between 1848 and 1867, with members of the legislature and press. Edward's visit prompted warm diplomatic relations between Britain and the United States, which quickly ended with the onset of the Civil War.

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August 11, 2023 9:30 AM EDT
East Dennis, MA, US


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