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A finely painted headdress finial carved in the form of the dorsal fin of an orca | Donald Ellis Gallery

Dorsal Fin

Northern British Columbia

ca. 1840-1860

wood, paint, hide

height: 13 ½"

Inventory # N2978-4



acquired by the Scottish Reverend Robert J. Dundas from Anglican lay minister William Duncan in 1863 at the village of Metlakatla, British Columbia
by descent in the family
Simon Carey, London, England
Sotheby’s New York, Oct 5, 2006, lot 39

The present headdress finial was acquired by the Scottish Reverend Robert J. Dundas from the English lay missionary William Duncan on a trip to Canada in 1863. In 1862, Duncan had established a model Church of England mission at Old Metlakatla, an abandoned settlement near Prince Rupert, B.C. Dundas acquired almost 80 objects from Duncan, including crest helmets, rattles and antler clubs which remained in the Dundas family for several generations.