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American, Scrimshaw Sewing Chest with Bone Inserts

Retains its original finish and hand painted floral design and stripping.

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Napoleonic Prisoner of War Bone Spinning Jenny with Nine Figures and Polychrome

A rare and detailed example of Napoleonic Prisoner of War carving, we have only come across a handful of spinning jennies, worldwide, of this size, quality, condition and number of figures in our 44 year history.

Both wood platforms are covered in patterned straw work. The top platform has five carved figures, all with excellent details and touches of color. A man and woman are seated on high back chairs- she is the spinner and sits in a fine dress and bonnet. The gentleman at her side wears an officer's uniform, with tall plumed hat and his sword in his hand. To his right, another fine lady in a blue dress steps out for a turn on the dance floor. To their right, a couple also stand ready to join the dance. He is also in military uniform with red coat and a green trim which matches his lady's dress.

The lower platform shows two archers with bows at the front, each with a dog at their feet. On the back, two elegant ladies stand in dresses with red polychrome details and pleated petticoats. These figures surround an ornately carved mechanism of gears and levers which control the four actions in the piece. The spinning wheel turns, the seated gentleman raises and lowers his sword and the lady to his right and the couple to the left dance.

Made by prisoners of war, usually French, held in English camps during the Napoleonic Wars, these items seldom survive the centuries since their creation in the late 18th and early 19th century. Most soldiers were conscripts, and had other trades in their lives back home. Prisoners with suitable talents carved highly delicate ship models and artifacts including spinning jennies such as this one, from the bones left over from the prison kitchens along with whatever straw or wood they could find. The prisoners could sell their creations to British officers and the local public, giving them a bit of income and something to while away the time.

Creating such an exquisite piece under the difficult circumstances the craftsman lived under demanded his extreme skill, delicacy and untiring patience. The person who created this piece was clearly one of the most talented craftsman creating these figures. In outstanding condition for its age, this piece has the rare combination of qualities that put it at the top of this art form.

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AUSTRALASIAN Off South Sydney Heads
Sailors Wool Work of the Ship

Proud Liner of the Aberdeen White Star Line, AUSTRALASIAN carried emigrants and first-class passengers to Australia and the Southern Orient in the late 1880s & 1890s. This colorful period woolwork picture depicts the steaming vessel near “South Sydney Heads” with its prominent lighthouse, with a man working the signal tower flag. Several sailors and passengers are shown onboard the ship as well. Sydney Heads was the site of the first ‘forced landing’ of British passengers, some 750 convicts, in 1788.

Possessing attributes which make the artwork highly desirable and different from most surviving examples of these fine works, the puffed sails are extremely nice to have. Signed works of this nature are very rare, and the embroidered title and known headlands are a plus. The scenes detailed look at the cliffs, and the nautical activity at sea and shore add value, too.

The ship flies the British Red Ensign, and was built in 1884 by Robert Napier of Glasgow for the Aberdeen Line. Her steam/sail rig provided versatility while she demanded a substantial amount of coal fuel, now that stations along the route were being stocked for the Southern Hemisphere voyages.

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Sailors Woolwork of a Steam Sail Ship with Cliffs
In Rosewood Frame

This fine sailors woodwork shows a three masted steam-sail ship along the English coast. This British merchant ship is configured for maximum speed, with sails aloft and steam billowing from her funnel. Behind white chalk cliffs sits a patchwork of farm fields and houses, evoking English pastoral life which depended on merchant vessels such as this one to carry their goods across the sea.

Unusually tight, crisp detail and fine workmanship is present, including three dimensional stitching on the sails and bead detail for the cannons and at the top of the masts. A fine period rosewood frame completes this excellent example of the sailor art form.

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Sailors Woolwork Picture of a British Frigate

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Trinity House Box, British Steam-Sail Ship With Lighthouse Off The Bow

Replaced shelf inside. Crushed blue velvet lined.

Trinity House was the name for the light house service in Great Britain. These exquisite boxes were made circa 1850- 1880 by the keepers of the lighthouses and lightships while they were on station. They are delicately inlaid with several types of wood and usually feature accurate pictures of vessels from the period. They were marketed directly to the sailing captains and owners of the ships they aided. Fine inlaid woodwork is a telltale attribute of their learned craft, with parquetry and marquetry examples in existence. The Trinity House Box, for letter writing, sewing, and tea storage are very desired.

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