Remarkable Carved Ebony Cup from the Whaling SHIP DOVE
It was a fine ship with prime captain and crew ... The name of our ship I suppose you'd like to know ... She was called the Dove you will see in my song.....
New England, ca. 1840-1860, skillfully turned and carved from ebony, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and probably whale bone. The Dove was a Union whaling bark built In Newbury, MA. Given the precise turning, this cup was likely made by the ship carpenter.
The entire surface is carved, with elements including a banner SHIP DOVE above conjoined hearts with the initials SRL, WE ARE ONE, the Tree of Life with birds at its base, an inlaid oval that may represent the “all seeing eye”, and two pinwheels/starbursts. The conjoined hearts strongly suggest that it was created as a love token to be given to the maker’s girlfriend/wife upon return.
The Dove had a song written about it in 1845, entitled: THE CRUISE OF THE DOVE. A Whalers' Song….the text of which can be seen at this MUST READ link: http://www.vlib.us/amdocs/texts/whalers.htm
About 3 ½ inches diameter x 2 ¾ tall. Impeccable condition. From a private Cape Cod collection.
Epilogue: After the Union surrender of Fort Sumter, the Union sent several old whalers and ships to Charleston loaded with stones and scuttled them in Maffitt’s Channel in an attempt to close Charleston Harbor to Confederate blockade-runners. The effort failed because strong currents and shifting sands caused the channels to change. One of those ships was the Dove.