Bute scrimshaw
Lot 9Y
A very rare silver mounted scrimshawed whale's tooth from Charles Darwin's voyage on HMS Beagle (1832-36) 20.3cm (8 in) long
£30,000 - 50,000
US$ 48,000 - 80,000

Lot Details
Bute scrimshaw
A very rare silver mounted scrimshawed whale's tooth from Charles Darwin's voyage on HMS Beagle (1832-36)
Depicting on one side a group of four Fuegan natives in a canoe, against a mountainous backdrop, within an oval and bearing the inscription Canoe Indians in Beagle Channel Tierra del Fuego. On the reverse, an Island with native huts and palm trees within a chain link oval, bearing the inscription Queen's Island Tahiti
signed 'J.A. Bute'
20.3cm (8 in) long

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Private Thomas Burgess, Royal Marine on board HMS Beagle 1832-1836
    Thence the Burgess family by descent


    HMS Beagle arrived at Tierra Del Fuego in December 1832 after crossing the Atlantic. The ship's official artist, Conrad Martens, prepared a watercolour recording a meeting with natives in a canoe in the Beagle Channel, which appears in the Illustrated Origin of Species. She arrived at Tahiti in November 1835.

    Thomas Burgess served alongside James Adolphus Bute, part of the ship's complement of eight Marines, for the duration of the four year voyage. After paying off from the ship at Woolwich, he made his way home to Stockport, where he bought himself out of the service. Through the good offices of Admiral Sir Salisbury Pryce Davenport, R.N., C.B., he secured an appointment in the Cheshire Constabulary, where he served for 32 years until his retirement.

    In the 1870s he corresponded with Charles Darwin, reminding him of their time together on the ship and received a signed photograph and a copy of Darwin's book.

    Ref. Darwin letters NMM, DAR 106:D15-16, DAR 106:D17-18, DAR160:376
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Y CITES

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