Monday, July 18, 2022

Oscar Farrington Canoe Paddles, circa 1864

In the collections of the The Maine State Museum are a set of decorative paddles with some interesting decorative and carved elements. 

Catalog Number: 75.10.1
Object Name: Paddle, Canoe
Artist-Maker: Unknown
Place Made: MAINE
Date Made: Circa 1875
Media Materials: Wood, Oil paint
Measurements: 63" x 6 1/2" x 1 1/8"

The painted blades have tiny shoulders and a distinct spine. The tips have been painted black and the blade face features some double curve motifs. The handle consists of a stepped grip similarly scene in traditional Penobscot paddles, but this one features a cylindrical roll grip on top. More painted scroll patterns appear on the flattened grip face. Stamped twice onto the grip face is the name "O. Farrington" along with a date of "1864".

A digital copy of Maine Fish and Wildlife Magazine (Spring 1982) features an article entitled, "Oscar Farrington. Canoe Builder?" on pages 24-25. The article discusses the likelihood that a decorated cedar canvas canoe in the collection was also made by the same hands.

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