Beagle scrimshaw
Lot 192
A very rare scrimshawed whale's tooth from H M Sloop "Beagle", decorated by James Bute with scenes from Charles Darwin's voyage in April 1834, 7in (18cm) long
Sold for £40,800 (US$ 63,723) inc. premium

Lot Details
A very rare scrimshawed whale's tooth from H M Sloop "Beagle", decorated by James Bute with scenes from Charles Darwin's voyage in April 1834,
decorated on one face with H M Beagle in rough seas off a mountainous shoreline, lettered Working H M Sloop BEAGLE up the River Santa Cruz and signed J A Bute, the reverse with a scene of the Beagle beached on shore lettered H M Sloop Beagle laid on shore to repair her Forefoot and again signed J A Bute 7in (18cm) long

Footnotes

  • Excerpts from Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary:

    13th April 1834. Dropped our anchor within the mouth of the river of Santa Cruz; our passage has been a fortunate one; only six days, & this against the constant Westerly breezes. - It blew very strong in the morning, & we could only just manage to fetch in. - I have never seen His majesty's vessel under a greater press of sail or much closer to a lee-shore. - Tomorrow a place will be sought out to lay her aground to look at her bottom. Her top-masts & everything excepting main masts will be on deck & her guns, anchors &c on shore.

    16th April 1834. The Ship was laid on shore; it was found that several feet of her false keel were knocked off, but this is no essential damage; one tide was sufficient to repair her & after noon she floated off 7 was again moored in safety. Nothing could be more favourable than both the weather & place for this rather ticklish operation.

    There is an engraving by T Landseer after Conrad Martens entitled "Beagle laid ashore, River Santa Cruz" showing a different view of the Beagle ashore at close quarters.

    James Adolphus Bute was born in England around 1799 and joined the Royal Navy as a Marine Private circa 1819. Bute is listed as a marine on board the Beagle's voyage to the Galapagos and could have collected sperm whale teeth from the whaling station on the Falkland Islands or from whalers in the vicinity. There are four other examples of Bute's scrimshaw work known.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note. This lot may be subject to CITES legislation.
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