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Steamboat Models -The Rare Investment

Rex Stewart

Rex Stewart is a professional artist and craftsman that specialize in rare wood collectibles that reflect the American maritime with timeless subjects in various genres such as shadowboxes, dioramas, miniatures, woodsculptures, shipmodels and fine paintings. Forty years experience has given him national and international acclaim.

The Hudson River steamboat model and other such works are highly sought after in the collectible market, primarily because of its rarity. Very few collectibles in this genre exist and there is a place where they can be realized and collected to enhance the Bard paintings that are now favored in the maritime.

BEETLE Whaleboat Model -A Collector's Choice

  • This model of the Beetle Whaleboat is produced completely in wood.  The model overall length which include the steering oar is 14" inches.  The scale is 1:32, 3/8" = 1'.

    This model of the Beetle Whaleboat is produced completely in wood. The model overall length which include the steering oar is 14" inches. The scale is 1:32, 3/8" = 1'.

  • The overview show all the intricate details within the vessel.  The highlight of this piece are the carved vignettes that frame the model -placed at vantage points on the deck which is handcrafted in pine.

    The overview show all the intricate details within the vessel. The highlight of this piece are the carved vignettes that frame the model -placed at vantage points on the deck which is handcrafted in pine.

When travelling in and around New England, it would not be surprising to discover a small, yet interesting multi-oared boat model displayed somewhere in a home, office, or library setting. This small double-ended type vessel would also be found in likely places such as antique shops, online galleries, and at notable maritime galleries -serving as a decorative art accent, or part of a collection. And, of course, these are very much part of the museum settings around the world for its simplistic yet esthetic design.

The whaleboat has been the subject of countless stories and maritime  folklore since its early beginning. The industry of whaling approached its zenith shortly after the American Civil War and began to decline a decade into the 20th century. To such an interesting topic I have been fortunate to explore the artistic platform of this genre with both palette and carving knife. Working as both practitioner and viewer; in both roles I have been able to research and study existing blueprints and actual craft for making a worthy piece representing the classic BEETLE Whaleboat -showing its appearance circa 1890.

The first such model, or prototype, was produced and acquired at Tonkin Of Nantucket in 2001. Since that time collectors from various parts of the world have sought this particular model as a prime decorative artpiece. Also in that year, and the following year, Brimfield, Massachusetts hosted this work at its much-heralded summer antique shows.

What made this particular model so special among the viewer and buyer? The handcrafted vignettes that were  strategically placed around the bench-raised whaleboat which made it an instant collectible and accent piece. The vignettes were (and are) hnadcrafted completely in wood -with parts painted to simulate real metal. These parts were saws, bolts, hammers, mallets, harpoons, etc., etc. All produced in minute detail to compliment the era of sail and whaling...not to mention the scaled rigging blocks.

Whaling has been a subject matter of high value to collectors, home decorators, and those loving its adventure for many years. The whaleboat model is part of this value which is now shared in these images. To view more work on this unique model/ collectible visit http://www.rexstewartoriginals.com or email Caseships@yahoo.com

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