Thistlethwaite Americana | Nautical Carving of an Eagle from a Merchant Ship
We pride ourselves on presenting distinctive fine and decorative arts from the 18th through the 20th century highlighting great American design.
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Nautical Carving of an Eagle from a Merchant Ship

Likely Massachusetts

Painted and carved softwood

Circa 1880

18” x 32”


Any carved element from a ship is rare. To find one in this condition with the original painted surface is remarkable. Inscribed with the initials “JHC” this painted and carved plaque likely hung above the door of a ship captain’s or other official’s quarters. The initials are inscribed on a shaped scroll above a boldly carved urn. Surrounding the urn are three flags: one from the United States, a British Merchant flag, and a French flag. In the center of the plaque a large eagle is proudly carved in relief standing on top of a pile of rocks. The eagle retains an original glass eye and the fully carved wings gracefully extend the length of the board. The products of trade, lumber, tobacco leaves and corn form the carved border on the top and bottom of the plaque intertwined with scrollwork. The quality of the carving on this plaque is remarkable and comes from a highly skilled, but unknown hand. Shops specializing in carved elements for the marine trades dotted the coast of New England and also appeared in Boston and New York.

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