A highly detailed example, this scrimshaw tooth is an extremely rare in that it can be traced to a particular engraving. Based on a portrait of John Adams (1768?-1829), published as an engraving in 1831, the tooth commemorates the infamous mutineer who had been living on Pitcairn Islands since 1790. As the last surviving mutineer of the HMS Bounty, Adams was discovered by Captain Mayhew Folger in 1808, whereupon he was granted amnesty for the mutiny.
While the story of the Bounty was familiar to most whalers of the 19th century, this scrimshaw tooth provides an insight into popular opinion of Adams. Referred to as the "patriarch" of the Pitcairn Islands in the inscription, the artist possibly expresses his admiration for Adams. In addition, the angel engraved above Adams' head is a probable reference to Adams' conversion to Christianity following years of alcoholism, illness and murder during the first years of the settlement of the Pitcairn Islands.