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Personal Effects > Walking-sticks

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Walking stick with scrimshaw decoration, made by Alfred Evans, 1847 - 1857
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Object statement
Walking stick with scrimshaw, whale bone / tortoiseshell, made by Alfred Evans, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1847-1857
The word scrimshaw is primarily used to describe the carving and decoration of baleen (sometimes referred to as whalebone) and skeletal bones and teeth (sometimes referred to as ivory). Other materials used are horn, wood and walrus tusks.

Whale scrimshaw objects were derived from two groups of whales; the Mysticeti (baleen whales), and the Odontoceti, the toothed whale. Mysticeti, 'Right' whales, are found in colder waters and were the first to be used commercially. Odontoceti, 'Sperm' whales, are found in the warmer waters of the Pacific and have an average of 25 teeth embedded in their lower jaw. Once scraped and polished teeth and bone were engraved or carved with a sharp blade or point. Engravings were rubbed with ink or a mixture of oil and soot make the image stand out.

In Europe hunting whales probably began as early as the sixth century but it was in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth that the essentially folk art of scrimshaw came to prominence. Sailors away at sea for months or even years often had time on their hands which enabled them to carve baleen, teeth, and whale-bone into a variety of forms. These included functional items such as tools and ships fittings but they also fabricated toys, cutlery and jewellery.

This walking stick was made in the mid to nineteenth century by the Australian Alfred Evans who carved a number of his pieces from the teeth of a whale caught off the Australian coast in 1852. This scrimshaw piece along with a number of others by Alfred Evans was donated to the museum by his wife in 1914.

References
Phillips, P., (ed), 'Ivory: an International History and Illustrated Survey', Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York, 1987
MacGregor, A., 'Bone, Antler, Ivory and Horn: the technology of skeletal materials since the Roman period', Barnes and Noble Books, New Jersey, 1985.
West, J., Credland, G., 'Scrimshaw: The Art of the Whaler', Hutton Press, Yorkshire, England, 1995
McClelland Gallery, 'Scrimshaw the Sailor's Art', McClelland Gallery, Victoria, Australia, 1986
MacGregor, A., 'Bone, Antler, Ivory and Horn: the technology of skeletal materials since the Roman period', Barnes and Noble Books, New Jersey, 1985.
Mossman, S., (ed.), Early Plastics; perspectives, 1850-1950, Leicester University Press, London, 1997
This walking stick was made by Alfred Evans in Sydney, Australia around 1847-1857.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Scrimshaw walking stick of whale bone with tortoiseshell inlay.

Made: Evans, Alfred; Sydney; 1847 - 1857
E4526
Production date
1847 - 1857

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Presented by Mrs Alfred Evans, 1914
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/228174 |title=Walking stick with scrimshaw decoration, made by Alfred Evans |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=22 April 2015 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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Object viewed 6137 times. Parent IRN: 2139. Master IRN: 2139 Img: 116755 Flv: H:1940px W:2820px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.