Scrimshawed Baleen Busk

zoomable artifact image here


Baleen busk with round bottom and lobed top, with incised vinework border around top and side edges. Decorative elements include a pair of pierced hearts, an eagle, sunburst, five-point star, and Admiralty style anchor.

At center is following verse: "Through many a gale has been the Whale/ Wherein this bone did rest,/ His days are past this bone at last/ Supports a female brest." Practice scratches & notation "Isaac Bly/ New Bedford, Mass" in ink on reverse.

Bly (c. 1790-c. 1875) from Middleborough, MA, was a cooper in New Bedford in the 1830's.