12996 | Marco Polo Stern Carving of a Figure in Eastern Dress

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Marco Polo Stern Carving of a Figure in Eastern Dress
(Attributed to / Attribué à) Edward Charters
1851, 19th century
94 x 162 cm
Gift of John Johnston, 1922
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Once the ship's hull was finished, master craftsmen fitted out the cabins and installed the steering gear and deck machinery. Iron fittings, anchors, and kilometres of rope were installed. Masts, which were cut from lengths of pine up to 18 metres, were also installed, or "stepped". They were hoisted through the deck into the hull and the base of each mast was then fitted into the "step" - a slot cut into the keelson.

Ornamental wood carvings were used to decorate sailing ships. The best known of these was the figurehead, which adorned a ship's bow. This particular carving, however, was fitted to the stern of the Marco Polo. One of New Brunswick's most respected woodcarvers was John Rogerson of Saint John. He made carvings for ships, private homes, businesses and churches.

Source : The Golden Age of Sail [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    The painted pine carving shows Marco Polo in exotic Eastern dress. Other stern decorations included the explorer in Western dress, an elephant and a star.

  • Where

    Edward Charters was born in Applegirth, Scotland, in 1801.

  • When

    Edward Charters died in York County, New Brunswick, in 1882.

  • Who

    Edward Charters of Saint John, believed to have carved this piece, was the uncle of John Rogerson.