Scrimshaw by William Lewis Roderick: a Whale Bone Plaque dated 1858 showing the Barque Adventure of London Whaling off Flores and Pulau Komba in the Indian Ocean

By Janet West & R.H. Barnes, published May 1990


The barque Adventure made four whaling voyages between 1844 and 1856, chronicled by the ship’s surgeon, Willim Lewis Roderick on the superb scrimshaw examples he produced. Sperm whale provided spermaceti and superior blubber for lamp oil, as well as the teeth on which artists could portray their craft. The article describes whaling activity in the 19th century, an element of which was illustrated by Roderick in a plaque engraved on a sperm whale jaw bone. There is discussion as to where the locations specified by Roderick are now to be found.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Art & Music | Whaling & Fishing

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