New England

Whale and Calf

“Whale and Calf,” artist unknown, ca. 1830.

“Whale and Calf,” artist unknown, ca. 1830.

“What it shows is a whale calf in the mouth of its mother. She is not, of course, eating it. (Those teeth are useless.) She is trying to rescue it. And that, my friends, was all part of the whalers’ fiendish plan. If whalers — big drivers of the economy in early industrial America — could get their harpoons into a whale calf they never missed their chance, because harpooning the baby was a perfect way to lure in the adult. The bigger the whale, the more oil.” More on this painting here.

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