I really wanted to call this piece a "Still Life" of New England's Fishing Industry, but changed my mind as these two Salty Dogs were playing checkers not fishing! This wonderful example of a folk sculpture is all hand made and just brings a smile to my face every time I view it. The scene is a dock with two seamen playing checkers on a barrel head surrounded by nautical objects including buoys, shells and a net. The two gents are beautifully and skillfully fashioned of old nylon stockings with tremendous detail to their faces, one of which is smoking a hand carved wooden pipe and the other with just a charming smile. Both are adorned with caps and one has a small metal pin on it and their boots are real leather well dried out.
Their faces are wonderful featuring eye brows, Mutton Chop side burns and a beard meticulously stitched. Their shirts are as authentic as possible for fishermen of the period including their pants and the crates they are sitting upon say "Fresh Frozen Halibut" and "Yankee Lobsters". My guess is this piece dates from the early 20th to mid century.
A New England Folk Art Nautical Sculpture