Antique Nantucket Lightship Basket from the South Shoals Lightship, circa 1870s

Antique Nantucket Lightship Basket from the South Shoals Lightship, circa 1870s

$2,800.00

Antique Nantucket Lightship Basket from the South Shoals Lightship, attributed to Captain Thomas James (Nantucket: 1811 – 1885), circa 1870s, an early round, open Nantucket basket with wooden splint staves, cane weave, carved swing handle attached to stave, on bottom plate with twelve scribed concentric rings.

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SKU: LH - 2 HOYY
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Antique Nantucket Lightship Basket from the South Shoals Lightship, attributed to Captain Thomas James (Nantucket: 1811 – 1885), circa 1870s, an early round, open Nantucket basket with wooden splint staves, cane weave, carved swing handle attached to stave, on bottom plate with twelve scribed concentric rings – the most I have ever seen! The basket is of course not signed, but bears the shadow of where there was once a rectangular paper label.

Thomas James was a retired whaling master who went on to become captain of the South Shoals Lightship, and is thought to have likely been the first to start making baskets aboard a Nantucket lightship sometime in the 1850s. Other sailors learned from him and a great folk art was born.
The ears on this basket are consistent with ones fashioned by James and other early makers on the South Shoals station. In addition, the staves here are chamfered which the Seelers claimed was a trait of James, but we can not be sure of this.

This round sewing basket has warped slightly out-of-round over time, and has a fair number of small cane breaks in the weave. We do not think this detracts from the appearance of this early basket and decided it best to leave alone rather than restoring. There are two rows of cane low down on the basket that are lighter in color than the rest; this appears original to the basket and would have been from the differential pick-up of stain in that particular length of cane. The rim wrap is original and unblemished. The honey color and warm patina are exquisite.

Measures: 4-1/4 in H x 10-1/8 in L x 9-1/4 in W

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