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4A

SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH SIGNED BY WILLIAM SIZER AND DATED 1834

Collection of mostly patriotic motifs covers nearly the entire surface of the tooth. One side with "Eng. By W. Sizer", a small weeping willow tree, and a full-length portrait of a long-haired Lady Liberty wearing a sash, holding a staff topped with a Phrygian cap, and standing next to a rope-entwined anchor that rests on a foliate-decorated rectangle. Marked on one edge of tooth "Pacific Ocean. July 4. 1834". Opposite edge with image of a whale. Other side of tooth with a foliate sprig, a spread-wing eagle clutching an "E. Pluribus Unum" banner in its beak and hovering over a shield, crossed American flags, a cannon and cannonballs, and a warship with two decks of guns, pennants flying from the masts and a large American flag flying off the stern. Many of the elements, including the gunports, the cannonballs and Liberty's sash, are very deeply stippled, and the water around the ship's hull is deeply engraved. Length 6.5". Includes wooden stand. Height on stand approx. 8.5".
In Stuart M. Frank's Scrimshaw and Provenance: A Third Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists (Mystic, Ct.: Mystic Seaport, 2013), p. 258-259, William Sizer is described as a Franco-Azorean whaleman from New England, who was believed to have been onboard an 1834-1837 voyage of the whaleship L.C. Richmond of Bristol, Rhode Island, presumably when this tooth was produced. His output included a number of outstanding teeth, some of which are signed. Sizer, born in 1801 in Chester, Massachusetts, died at sea in 1840 and was buried in Tahiti.
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  • Condition: Chip at tip. Some fading of ink, particularly in the area of Lady Liberty. Some old gouges, mostly concentrated at lower edge of Lady Liberty side. Old crack at base on ship portrait side, with some age lines extending from crack. Other age lines, mostly unobtrusive.


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