VINTAGE PAINTED CAST-IRON SAILING SHIP 12"diam(damage)

  • Sold for: Start Free Trial or Sign In to see what it's worth.
  • Item Category: Advertising
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jun 03, 2009
  • Channel: Auction House

For those are interested in vintage sailing ships / galleons / clipper ships, or in period ornamental cast-ironwork depicting such nautical / maritime subjects, up for auction is an architectural or other type of openwork (cut-out) bas-relief cast-metal fragment of a painted masted antique vessel enclosed in a roundel. I'm thinking this object was perhaps a decorative detail on a building, or perhaps on a carousel or some other carnival ride, or maybe even an embellishment on an actual ship. T are plenty of doorstops in the shape of ships and galleons about, but the fact that this is in a round surround means it wasn't most likely either of those, although two indentations at the bottom, at the left and right, might have been w a base or feet fit in, allowing for the whole piece to sit upright rather than be attached to something. I also found someone selling a similar roundel on eBay, and that vendor described it as a centerpiece from an early gaslight chandelier. Yet another openwork piece being sold -- all painted off-white, however -- is identified as the front of an old speaker (for a cabinet radio, I guess). But I don't know for certain what it once adorned or how it remained upright, so your guess is just as good as -- if not better than -- mine! What I can say is that the piece is beautifully painted, and much attention

This decorative item has a diameter of 12 inches (30.5 cm), and it weighs some 3 pounds 4 ounces (1.47 kg). You can see that the paint on it -- which I'm assuming is original to the piece, executed soon after it was cast -- is in a variety of colors: blue, silver, black, red, lemon yellow, egg-yolk yellow, and orange. I should point out that t are seven (7) canon visible near the bottom of the hull, above which is a row of six (6) dark red-painted shields (two more shields can be seen at the front of the ship).

Unfortunately, as I'm sure plenty of you saw right away, t's a piece of the ship missing, the top of the mast and possibly another sail at the front -- a lacuna I only just noticed (I'm not much a sailing / boat buff or expert, needless to say!). It broke off at some point, I guess (I don't have the piece, incidentally), and I'm thinking a craftsman or craftswoman who works with metal or is comfortable with a soldering iron might take on the project of replacing, restoring, and then painting the missing piece -- it can't be that difficult to do, I would imagine, especially since you could paint and metal and thus cover all kinds of mistakes or noticeable joins or the like. I'm thinking it may just be the thin, pointed top of the mast that broke off, not a sail as well, since it would be so much easier for a pointed metal piece to come away, rather than a sail and a mast. Also, it wouldn't have been attached to the inside of the border / frame, since t's nothing t that indicates something was once connected to it (e.g., the top of a mast).

T are no artist, maker, factory, or other initials or marks whatsoever on the piece, either painted on the front or etched or cast in relief on the back, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were made somew in New England in the early 20th century, since t were so many bronze and iron foundries operating in Connecticut (w I acquired the piece) and Massachusetts at the time. It could be even older than that, however; I've just no way of knowing.

I also don't know what kind of ship this is, though I'd imagine it's a period European sailing vessel, and an English one because of the crowned lion rampant on the main sail, holding onto a red shield with an orange "VH" painted on it and the shield surmounted by a crown (I thought the "VH" might stand for Queen Victoria, but then it would probably be "VH" for Victoria Regina, so I'm not sure who or what that acronym stands for). You can also see just the tip of the head of a unicorn rampant at the opposite sid...
... read more