Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Canoe Paddle Puzzle Art

Oldpuzzles.com has a massive collection of (go figure) old puzzle toys with interesting decorative artwork. Managed to find two puzzles with some paddle illustrations.

The first is a highly romanticised version of two scantily-clad Indian maidens entitled The Canoe Girls with one of them holding a decorated spear-like paddle, very much like the early Mi'kmaq design documented by Adney.

Date: 1930s
Pieces: 300
Maker: Beraton, S.W.
Artist: Relyea, Charles

Another puzzle shows a woman in fancy dress paddling a sharp stemmed bark canoe with a rather long beavertail paddle. It's entitled A Rose Among Lilies and comes with a pretty risqué subheader - "Wouldn’t You Rather Paddle Her Canoe than Your Own?"

ca. 1933
260 pieces
11”H x 18”W
artist: W. Granville Smith
Cut 1930s by unknown maker, plywood, interlocking, irregular edges, upper and lower halves double cut together to make interchangeable pieces. This picture, also by W. Granville Smith, appeared as the centerfold in an 1896 issue of Truth magazine with the catchy double entendre sub-title above and a very attractive female engaged in an unusual athletic activity (for women)

Perhaps the inspiration for the puzzle was this actual picture of Mabel Frances Whittemore, wife of Reginald Whittemore who founded the Nature Canada charity in 1939 in honour of his late wife. Can't imagine having to kneel in a canoe with a corset and dress, but they sure look stylish!

Mabel Frances Whittemore paddling her canoe

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