Sunday, June 10, 2012

Peabody Essex Museum


DH and I were half way to Salem after meeting with our Mortgage guy, so we updated the GPS and headed for the Peabody Essex Museum.  I had tried to go there a long time ago with my daughter... but it was a Monday... the traditional day for museums to be closed.

DH has built 1 7/8 model ships and I was pretty sure he would like some of these, even though I only knew them by reputation.

They were wonderful!
This was made by a second in command while on a long voyage to China and Samoa.  It must have been a little like scrab-booking for sailors:  a visible, tangible construction commemorating an important event.

I liked the contrast between the "platform" and the figure.  I never would have thought of wearing golden sandals on a long ocean voyage, though.
This kind of model is called a "bird cage."  It is sort of like a 3D blueprint. It shows where the beams need to go and how they fit together.  Apparently this boat would/could carry especially heavy cargo because the beams were so close together.
"Britannia" a figure head with a dagger AND a come hither way about her.
These models were tiny.  None were longer than 5 inches and each seemed to have every plank, mast, yard and line that a full sized seagoing vessel would have had.
A hotshot yachtsman and rower was in the habit of taking all of his trophies with him when he traveled.  Unfortunately, on a voyage to Yokohama, the ship he was on burned and his trophies were "lost."  He apparently commissioned a hodgepodge cumulative trophy with lots of marine relics.
Makes the Stanley Cup look positively simple.
The ship model of the Queen Elizabeth is 29 feet long.  We chatted with the museum guard and wondered how you would move it.
Clipper Ship Cards were larger than post cards but served the purpose of advertising Clipper ships that went from Boston to San Francisco.  The cards and the companies vanished soon after because Steamships took over the business.
I can't imagine where the clippers would have been sailing that they would come across crocodiles.
A "Fire board" was used to cover a fireplace when not in use.  The painting on this one was commissioned by a captain who saved his ship AND his crew in a storm off Marblehead, Massachusetts that sank a dozen others.
I am surprised at how many captains and sailors sang their OWN praises (by having trophies and paintings made).
Figureheads, eagles and other carvings on boats were done with very simple knives and gouges.  No power tools for them.
This is a detail of a painting by the American Quaker Painter Benjamin West. It seems more stylish than realistic.
"Watch Hutch"  made of whale ivory, bone and tropical woods.
Captive sailors sometimes made models of their ships while imprisoned.  This one is beautifully carved of bone with yards of authentic looking rigging, and an inlaid "tray."

 The arrival of Princess Charlotte in Harwich.  (This painter learned from watching ship builders paint their ships, and became quite a success.  Can you imagine tall ships with so many sailors ON the yards?  Princess Charlotte Sophia was arriving to marry King George III.)

I wish I knew who painted the woman in this portrait was.  Neglected to get the information.  Perhaps she was a captain's widow since she's all in black. Another Flickr User says it is "Miss G"
Golden Hours.
I have no idea why this appealed to me.  At first I thought the woman was spinning wool with a drop spindle.  On second glance, I believe she was trying to show the little boy how to play with a juggling toy.

The organ was made by Hook Jr, and the Case was made by Hook Sr.  It was given to the museum by a daughter or grand daughter.  I hope it wounded as beautiful as it looks.
Lots of the pieces in the Decorative Arts/Americana section were not at all what I think I like... yet they were fascinating.
I am glad I don't have to dust or wash them!

I doubt the actual globe lights cast sufficient light to make such cool shadows as these.
Buddha Dogs
Actually Buddha "Dogs" are more like lions, and are also known as Foo Dogs.  They are traditionally made in pairs; the Male with his foot on the "world" or globe and the Female with a cub submissive at her feet.

Ceramic piece by a non-fan of John Kerry.

A book of fabric samples collected by Captain John Cook and bound in leather.


 Watermarked paper from the Phillips Essex Library

 A model of the Minot Lighthouse between Cohasset and Scituate.

The building designed by Moshe Safdie
  Halo by sculptor ANISH KAPOOR


1 comment:

kath said...

Love these photos! I was born in Salem and spent my first 6 years in Marblehead. Kind of takes me back. My dad's family was very much into maritime culture, so I remember seeing a lot this kind of art.

Fascinating stuff -- especially when you get some of the stories that go with them!

The Golden Hours piece? That's a cup and ball toy.

BTW, you are missing a link -- on the photo of the watermarked paper.

Great stuff -- thanks for sharing