18th Century English Antique Baleen Folk Art Stay Busk Love Token


18th Century English Antique Baleen Folk Art Stay Busk Love Token



An absolutely wonderful folk art/sailor art 18thC English antique baleen stay busk love token, most probably made by a sailor whilst at sea for his betrothed.

What is a stay busk?

Before 1830 corsets were called stays. They were an essential part of a woman’s undergarments, forcing the body to the fashion shape of the season. When tightened the stays could damage a woman’s body by distorting and repositioning her internal organs. Stay busks were inserted into the front of stays to flatten the wearer’s stomach. They restricted movement making it impossible to bend forward!

What is baleen?

Baleen is a filter-feeding system inside the mouths of baleen whales. To use baleen, the whale first opens its mouth underwater to take in water. The whale then pushes the water out, and animals such as krill are filtered by the baleen and remain as a food source for the whale.

This example of a stay busk is beautifully scratch-carved with images of tall ships and whaling.

Condition – Good as per the images.

Size: Length 42 cm (16 1/4″)

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We are a member of the following 3 Professional Institutions:

1. LAPADA (London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association) –  LAPADA is the UK’s largest trade association for professional art & antique dealers (representing approximately 500 UK dealer members). All items are backed by our LAPADA guarantee.

2. CINOA – CINOA is the world association of Art & Antique dealer associations (representing 5000 dealers from 32 associations in 22 countries).

3. The Norfolk & Suffolk Antique Dealers Association.

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