Quick Hits: Art of the Cane

A collection of scrimshaw walking canes sold for a total of $45,110 at a British auction in the last few weeks. Antique marine ivory and baleen canes such as the ones offered by Sworders typically were worked by American and European sailors as gifts for loved ones, or to be sold to natural history-curious Victorians in the port cities.

While some scrimshaw canes are relatively simple, the best examples reflected many hours of work: carving to the shaft with spiraling and crosshatching, tortoiseshell inlay and careful carving of a marine ivory pommel or handle. The most sophisticated example in the collection . . . 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. It sold for £7,000 ($9,290) (Above: bottom row, middle cane) .



3 replies »

  1. Hi, I`d let you know that I`ve nominated your inspiring blog for the so called Mystery Award. As far as I understood, it is about building a community / networking – and not so much a bout an award. Please, visit my accordant blog with the requirements for participation if you like.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s