Antique Maritime Folk Art & A Fascinating Find That Gave Me Goosebumps!

Favourite Finds News


Ahoy there shipmates!  Welcome to this week's instalment of 'Blog Post Monday'.

I've had a little bit of a nightmare with my website this week, so if you've visited us and haven't been able to see any of our products...well...that's my fault.  I'm hopeful that we'll have the issue remedied very soon and you can start buying your quirky delights from us again.

Any how, this week's post is going to be all about another rather interesting piece that I've found recently.  I have a bit of fascination with anything antique and maritime, I'm not entirely sure why, but, there you go...  So, when I found a piece of antique maritime carved folk art dating from the early 19th century, it made me tingle in places that I really didn't know could tingle!  Many people buy with their guts, I buy with my tingles...

So, as always, get that kettle on, hoist that anchor and let's set sail on our voyage into the fascinating world of nineteenth century sailor art...


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find


Sailor art has long been a fascination of mine.  I don't know where this intrigue came from, but I think it may have something to do with the the mysteriousness of the sea.   Small crews aboard boats floating in seas so big, dark, deep and powerful that they can destroy anything in their path whenever they choose too.  Crews left to fend for themselves in the middle of nowhere.  Man vs sea.

And it was during these long and dangerous voyages that the seamen and women would paint, draw, printmake and sculpture fabulous pieces of folk art that would portray or draw its main inspiration from the sea, of course.


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find 


So when I found this rare and fascinating piece of carved maritime folk art, I just had to have it.  Engraved with the wording “The Star 1803” and accompanied by images of a boat, a star and spears, it was quite obvious that this piece had links to a fisherman.


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find


I wasn't holding out much hope of being able to discover much else out about this piece or the boat it appeared to have links to, but how wrong was I!  My research led me to a boat called the 'Star' which was built in Calcutta in 1800 by John Bannister Hudson.


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find 


Between 1803 and 1811 she made three seal hunting voyages. (In 1805 she transferred her registry to Great Britain.)  From 1812 she sailed as a merchantman until she was wrecked on 18 December 1829 on a voyage to Jamaica.


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find

Its first sealing voyage was in 1803–1805.  Captain James Birnie sailed from London on 8 August 1803, bound for Isle of Desolation.  She sailed in company with Thames, Charles Gardner, master, and William and Elizabeth, J.Coffin, master.  They were given permission on 14 October to leave their convoy, and separated from each other a little later.  Star returned on 18 June 1805.


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find


This boat had the same name as that on my piece of folk art.  Similarly, the date on the piece of 1803 links in with this boat's first sealing voyage, while the symbol of the spears quite obviously links in with the subject of sealing too.  Then we have the little image of the boat which certainly fits in with the style of fishing boats used at that time.


Image:  My 19th century sailor art find 


Isn't it just incredible that this may almost certainly be from the same boat? What's even more incredible is that we have a list of the crew who were aboard on that maiden sealing voyage in 1803 and that one of them may have been the artist of this piece of work!  My mind is blown!


Image:  voyage records of the Star from



Well, that's it for this week folks!  I hope you've enjoyed this little insight into the fascinating world of marine art or sailor art.  As always, let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Remember, if you enjoy my posts, please show your support by subscribing to my 'Source Social' membership, which you can do via the 'Home' page.  It's free and gives you a weekly blog post and a fortnightly YouTube video delivered directly to your inbox, as well as exclusive discounts and first dibs on new items before they are added to our website.

And, speaking of my YouTube channel, if you're into antiques and haven't seen any of my videos yet, you can find them HERE.  Head on over and subscribe to that too for your dose of finds, fairs, stories and reviews.

So, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!




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