A collection of ‘scrimshaw’ walking canes assembled by a local gentleman, sold for a total of £34,000 at Sworders on March 12.
A collection of ‘scrimshaw’ walking canes assembled by a local gentleman, sold for a total of £34,000 at Sworders on March 12. Marine ivory and baleen canes such as this, typically worked by American and European sailors for loved ones or to be sold to natural history-curious Victorians in the port cities, have long been popular, particularly in the UK and in North America. Many now appeal beyond the cane collecting community and into the folk art world.
While some ‘scrimshaw’ canes are relatively simple, the best examples reflected many hours of work: carving to the shaft with spiralling and crosshatching, tortoiseshell inlay and careful carving of a marine ivory pommel or handle. The most sophisticated example in this collection, sold in nineteen lots, had a Turk's knot pommel and a shaft with a series of carved octagonal and square sections, some inlaid with both tortoiseshell and white metal pieces. Estimated at £5000-6000, the hammer price was £7000.
Lot 193 - A fine and rare marine ivory and whalebone walking stick Sold £7,000
A similar cane with a Turk's head knot over a baleen disc above fluted, cross-hatched and spiral turned sections sold for £1100 while another with coloured line inlay, a spiral turned shaft with baleen stringing and a silver plaque engraved with crowned H took £2000. The canes formed part of Day One of Sworders’ two-day sale of Fine Interiors.
A rare work by the extraordinary Sarah Biffin (1784-1850), an early 19th century artist born without limbs, will go under the hammer in our Fine Interiors auction this December.
26 October 2021
A collection of Chinese silver assembled by a family who lived in Shanghai in the early 20th century comes for sale at Sworders in November. The group of typical ‘export’ wares owned by the vendor’s grandparents who lived in ‘the Paris of the East’ had been stored in a trunk since the end of The Second World War.
19 October 2021
Next week's auction of Design offers two archetypal side chairs from a truly unique Italian designer - Carlo Bugatti - whose life was filled with talent and tragedy.
14 October 2021