Ditty box remains

ditty box part

marad; scrimshaw
Bailey, Avery
USA, CT, New London
overall: 3 1/8 x 10 1/2 x 8 3/4 in.

Remains of baleen ditty box. Note the "fingers" which formed part of the seam. Probably had pine or cedar lid & bottom, according to Rich Malley, 12/87. Band of brown colored baleen which looks as if its ends may have been joined together at 1 time, forming a circle. Baleen is decorated with 3 separate vignettes, etched into surface & framed by geometric lines. First vignette shows monument with weeping willows (possibly cemetery?); 2nd vignette shows village with church & steeple. 3rd vignette shows basket of flowers. Baleen badly damaged. According to Stuart Frank (2012), "The box suffered severe larvae damage when it was new (the larvae only subsist in "fresh" baleen) and was further damaged by wear during the last 150+ years. However, it's a superb example of the type, with both engravings that remain vivid (a rare occurance with baleen) and the methods of construction of such boxes." Probably etched by Avery Bailey, sailor from New London, CT, who died in 1834.


Related Subjects

Religious articles