• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2129

    Maritime Decorative Arts

    15 January 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 105

    A rare and important scrimshaw whale's tooth depicting the ship Kutusoff off New Bedford**

    WILLIAM PERRY; EARLY 20TH CENTURIES

    Price Realised  

    A rare and important scrimshaw whale's tooth depicting the ship Kutusoff off New Bedford**
    William Perry; early 20th centuries
    decorated with a detailed image of New Bedford, with a light cloud cover, and a number of ships in the harbor, including the ship Kutusoff of New York preparing to depart the harbor. The tooth is signed with his initials hidden in the design of the scene.
    10 in. (25.4 cm.) length.


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    The ship Kutusoff of New York had a gross tonnage of 364 tons. Her master for most of her career was Gustavius Cornelious Sorensen.

    The scrimshander William Perry was born in Oakland, California in 1894. He was inspired by his father, Frank Antone Perry, a New Bedford-born whaleman but his mother forbade him follow in his father's footsteps due to the dangers of whaling. Instead, after a series of odd jobs, including a glass-cutting job in New Bedford, and a watchman position on the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, Perry combined his love of whaling and art by carving scrimshaw during his free time. Perry became an important transitional scrimshander, and engraved whaling scenes on over 1,000 pieces of sperm whale teeth and panbone to create exquisitely detailed scenes. His work is included in the collections of the Nantucket Whaling Museum (which has the largest collection of Perry's work), the Mystic Seaport Museum and the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.