Friday, May 22, 2020

Smithsonian Collection: Thomas Dyneley Model Paddles

From the Smithsonian Institute is a model bark canoe with various accoutrements including decorated paddles. The full listing cites the 47cm canoe model as being in the St.Francis - Abenaki style with exterior sidewalls decorated with a red line, blue dots and blue scallops.

The canoe includes two matching paddles with rounded grips and diamond shaped blades featuring notched shoulders. The blade area is divided into faded red and blue hemispheres painted on the whole blade. The items were purchased by William C. Sturtevant in 1987 from the collection of Colonel C. B. Dyneley, but I believe this to be in error. Colonel Thomas Dyneley (1782-1860), later Lt. General, was commander of the Royal Artillery in Canada from 1847 to 1852 headquartered in Montreal.  In 1838, Colonel Dyneley was given the British title of Companion of the Order of Bath, which allowed for him to use the initials CB after his name. In 1853, Dyneley was listed as one of the many Aides-du-camps for Queen Victoria.

The canoe and paddles are believed to date from 1848 which is consistent with Dyneley's deployment. Additionally the items are consistent with other tourist curios made by native groups in the St. Lawrence river corridor often purchased by military officers as souvenirs of their tours Canada.

DONOR NAME: Dr. William C. Sturtevant
COLLECTOR: Colonel C. B. Dyneley
OBJECT TYPE: Canoe Model / Paddle Model
PLACE: Ontario / Quebec, Canada, North America
ACCESSION DATE: 2002-Jun-30
COLLECTION DATE: 1848
ACCESSION NUMBER: 378683
USNM NUMBER: E430522-0


A second canoe set, unfortunately in worse condition with broken bark and gunnels, feature similarly decorated paddles and a pole.

DONOR NAME: Dr. William C. Sturtevant
COLLECTOR: Colonel C. B. Dyneley
OBJECT TYPE: Canoe Model / Paddle Model
PLACE: Ontario / Quebec, Canada, North America
ACCESSION DATE: 2002-Jun-30
COLLECTION DATE: 1848
ACCESSION NUMBER: 378683
USNM NUMBER: E430521-0


This form of paddle and canoe must have been popular as there other surviving models in private and museum collections that have this dual red / blue decorative motif on the paddles. One such example is found in New York's Metropolitan Museum originally discussed in this post here.


Canoe Model with Accoutrements

Ralph T. Coe Collection, Gift of Ralph T. Coe Foundation for the Arts, 2011
Accession Number:  2011.154.6a–p


Provenance states this sample came from en English Country house post 1845 and eventually ended up in the Ralph T. Coe Collection. Dated to post 1845 would make it a contemporary of the models collected by Dyneley.



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