Bark Canoes: The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney
Tappan Adney (1868-1950) was an artist, writer, ethnographer, historian and modelmaker of unparalleled ability. He tirelessly documented the cultures and languages of vanishing native cultures. His most enduring legacy is the extraordinary 110 birchbark canoe models he handbuilt to exacting standards. The models, now held at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, were built to ensure future canoe builders had exact reproductions for reference. These historically accurate, 1:5 scale models were meticulously researched, and traditionally constructed using the identical materials of the originals. Many are based on canoes that were the last example of their type. Before such a canoe disintegrated, Adney measured and recorded its dimensions, consulted with native builders and studied historical photographs and paintings.Each canoe model is beautifully photographed and accompanied by captions that outline the craft’s origins, uses and technical details. Adney’s amazing technical drawings for the models are also included. An extensive introduction covers Adney’s life and provides information about native model builders, canoe decoration and fur trade heraldry.