Unknown Small American Female Bust Figurehead
STYLIST FORM OF FIGUREHEAD
In the collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum, in Connecticut they have a female Bust Figurehead from the “EUNICE H. ADAMS” an American schooner later Brig, built in 1845 Bristol Rhode Island, by Amos Crandall, used over a number years as a whaling vessel, she was broken up in 1898 the figurehead surviving in private hands for a number of years until she was acquired by the Mystic Seaport collection in the 1950’s,
This particular Figurehead has one crucial and important style comparison
with the subject of this report, in that the back scroll decoration on the “EUNICE H ADAMS” is almost identical with that of the figurehead in question as can be seen in the following comparisons.
The above view shows the female Figurehead of the “EUNICE H ADAMS and shows the detailed side scrolls and how they are almost identical to the comparison scrolls of the Figurehead in question.
With this mind I feel it’s possible to say with a great deal of confidence that both figureheads come from the same area and carving tradition, and could well have been caved by the same hand, the unknown female from an earlier period of time, with a possible 20 year period between each carving.
HISTORY OF VESSEL/FIGUREHEAD
The only known information as to the history of this figurehead comes from the details given on her at the time of her sale in the United Kingdom at Bonham’s Maritime Sale in 2013 with the following information.
“The vendor remembers his father, Norris Wood telling him this Figurehead being in his grandparent’s possession by cira 1918; it is reputed to have been salvaged from a vessel broken up in Stromness on Orkney in the 19th century”
Stromness was an important stop off point for ships of the Hudson’s Bay Company, plus a large number of North American Whaling ships, these ships became regular visitors to the islands to buy provisions and a recruiting centre for extra crewmen, at the same time vessel would come to the Islands to repair damage at sea, if a vessel was found after a survey to be unsuitable for continued service at se, it would be condemned, broken up or used as a hulk, reading the above information from the sales catalogue would fit in with the survival of such a vessels figurehead in Stromness during the later part of the nineteenth century, I am sure that additional information on this particular figurehead could be found within the archives of the Stromness archives, re details on American vessel lost or condemned in the area from 1850 onwards.
This information is not known at the time of this report; however should ANY information be found with regards to the subject, in future or subsequent research this information will be given to Mr Vallejo, as part of the original report information. Looking at this and the Figurehead of the EUNICE H ADAMS would suggest the same craftsman at work.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
This information is not known at the time of this report; however should ANY information be found with regards to the subject, in future or subsequent research this information will be given to Mr Vallejo, as part of the original report information. Looking at this and the Figurehead of the EUNICE H ADAMS would again suggest that this particular figurehead is North American in origin, possibly the Rhode Island area.
This is a subjective and non intrusive report in to the condition of the carving as it stands on the date of the report, and is made from a number of photographic images sent to me over a period of time, as such this is not meant to be a definitive understanding as to the overall condition of the carving in question, without a full in person inspection, the condition of this particular figurehead would appear to be good with little is no damage to the carvings fabric, it would appear that at some time in the past this Figurehead has been stripped and as subsequently lost it’s original paint surface, and has been re-painted a muted scheme of off white and light green.
SUGGESTIONS AS TO CONSERVATION / RESTORATION
Where areas of concern have been found in the condition of any particular carving, recommendations will be given as to any future treatments both in Conservation and or restoration that may be need to safeguard the future integrity or aesthetics of the carving in question, and as such should be used as a guide for future work, also at the end of this section suggestions and comments will be made as to changes in any of the carvings location within the collection.
The condition of this figurehead is good. My own concern would be the paint surface, and would recommend that this figurehead be re-painted in a sympathetic way with colour given to the face.
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