Scrimshaw Bullock Horns; Dennis Gunn; Early 20th Century; RA2016.001


Scrimshaw Bullock Horns

About this object

These horns were etched by a prisoner awaiting execution at Auckland Prison in the first half of the 20th Century. The prisoner's jail warden kept the horns and when he retired to Mokau he donated them to this museum. The beautiful etching is known as scrimshaw and is achieved when fine etching is rubbed with ink or ash to make the lines show up. The portraits on the left horn show the prisoner's judge and lawyer and on the right horn show his mother and two sisters. These horns are rare and valuable not just because there are two but also for their fine craftsmanship and poignant story of their creation.


Dennis Gunn

Maker Role

Scrimshaw carver

Date Made

Early 20th Century

Place Made


Medium and Materials

Bullock Horn; Wood; Velvet; Ink


H 53.5cm x L 51cm

Subject and Association Keywords

Animal products

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Description


Object Type

Carved Horns

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from

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