Scrimshaw A Rare Edward Burdett Scrimshawed Sperm Whale's Tooth, American, circa 1828,
Edward Burdett(fl.1822-33) is considered to be one of America's foremost scrimshaw artists and he is the earliest documented engraver of pictorial sperm-whale teeth. He was born in Nantucket in 1805 , the son of a sea captain and went to sea at the age of 17. He served on board he whalers Foster and William Tell. He met an untimely death at the age of 28 when as first mate of the ship Montano he became entangled in a harpoon line and was dragged by the whale overboard and was drowned.
The Daniel IV and the Elizabeth were whalers both owned by the Bennett & Co. whaling company of London, UK. The Daniel IV, built in Chester in 1813, was destroyed by fire on the 5th March 1828 homeward bound to London from Tahiti with a full cargo of oil. The Elizabeth successfully rescued the captain and crew and it is assumed that this heroic feat was recorded by Burdett as he used this image on several other teeth. See: Stuart M Frank, Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists, Mystic Seaport Museum, 1991 for further know examples. A pair of Burdett teeth using these images were sold by Bonhams & Butterfields as lot 6072, March 16th 2004 in San Francisco.