Unusual and charming small mirror in a handmade three-sided frame of mahogany with contrasting boxwood inlays of a fish, a cannon, a boat, a heart and a pair of shields. The unusually shaped frame is a right triangle with a curved top. The frame sections are molded on the inner and outer edges. Within the upper portion of the frame is in inset oval reserve with a fretwork design of a flower flanked by an asymmetrical pair of plant forms. With its nautical motifs, this is likely a unique piece of folk art made by a sailor.
Sailors adopted crafts such as carving, rope work, whale bone scrimshaw and sailors’ shell valentines to pass the time on board ship or as a hobby after retirement. Sailor arts were often made as gifts for their wives or sweethearts back home, and also were sold or bartered by the sailors aboard ship or at port.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light handling, wear, toning, shrinkage. Some cracking to inlay, the shields upper right and left possibly partly replaced.
“Sailors’ Craftwork.” National Maritime Museum. http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=subject-90366;collectionReference=subject-90366 (24 April 2012).