It was a common practice to decorate the bows and sterns of sailing ships with sculptures made by expert carvers. Often, these creations were embellished with painted carved figures—hence the term 'figurehead'—and occasionally symbols that identified the ship's owner. This sternboard has both. It would have been placed in the rear - the stern - of the ship. Tradition has it that the sternboard's ship was owned by Elias Derby, a prodigiously wealthy merchant from Salem, Massachusetts whose fleet of ships traveled to remote parts of the world carrying trade goods.
[Gallery label text, 2002]
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This object has the following bibliographic references:
Article Title: A Memorial for Charles A. Carruth.
Article Scope: Article and reproduction.
Memorial Art Gallery.
Rochester, New York: Memorial Art Gallery, 1935-1995.
Volume Number: 23,
Issue Number: 2.
Issue Date: November-December, 1957.
Rochester Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester Handbook.
Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1961.
New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Magnum Opus: The Story of the Memorial Art Gallery, 1913-1988.
Rochester, NY: Memorial Art Gallery, 1988.
Ruth S. Wilkins, ed.
American Ship Portraits & Marine Painting.
Syracuse, NY: Everson Museum of Art, 1970.
Folk Art In America: A Personal View.
Exton, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd
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