This finely carved, early ship's gangway board is carved of an exotic hardwood with a rich, dark patina. Woods like this were commonly used aboard ships for their durability and resistance to pests.
In place on its ship, this board would have been placed on the side of a ship's sally port where a gangplank would be laid for boarding the ship formally, or above a ladder installed on the outer hull. Setting out these decorative boards was the equivalent of rolling out a "red carpet" of welcome, meant to impress those coming aboard.
The naval crown at the top signifies that this board was used aboard a naval vessel, though we are unsure of the country of origin. Several British Naval groups or former territories have used this symbol. A naval crown is heraldic symbol made up of a gold crown or circlet topped with alternating motifs of ship's prows or sterns and sails. Inside the crown sit two long weapons- a trident on the right and a glaive or pole arm on the left. The pole arm has a dolphin motif on the blade. Below the crown is an anchor with twined rope. Carved around the outside is a twisted rope border with a leaf motif in each corner. Slight traces of the original gilt remain on the border. Signed A.S. verso.
Each carved area of this board is in deep relief and is well defined. In very good condition for its age, and at nearly two inches thick, this is a solid artifact that presents very well in person.
The detailed photos are shown in high contrast so that the carving detail is more visible online. The actual patina in the wood is shown best in the front view of the entire board.
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