An exceptionally fine carved wood figurehead, diminutive with delicate features, this womanly ship icon is most probably American in origin. Telltale clues include that her proper appearance includes a flowing period dress with a V-cut neckline and the geometric pattern on the piping fold on her short sleeve. More unusually and quite interesting, her dress flows back to the point where the skirt would literally wrap the ship's bow past the bobstays and chocks, to flank the stem itself. Part of the carved scrolling prow decoration remains beneath her feet.
Properly attired, she looks quite reserved. The detail of the hair tightly bound in a bun, and proud posturing indicate a figurehead which both the carver and the ship to which she belonged would have been proud.
Prim and poised, the woman figure is fairly vertical in position, indicating a more plum bowed vessel, possibly from the first half of the 19th Century, in keeping with her dress and hairstyle as well. It has the correct wood plugs and a more modern backboard addition to properly have her mounted. Some of her old white paint has survived, and blends well with the natural wood grain where it shows through. A quality antique marine artifact for any collector of American maritime or folklore.
Provenance: Private California Collection.
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