Ships & boats

The Royal Navy ship models from the 17th to 19th centuries are of immense historical value. They are unique records of the development of warship design.

During the 19th century scale models of ships were made less frequently, replaced with more detailed ship plans.

The 74, a Third Rate, was the most important new ship-type of the later 18th century. Bellona was one of the most successful Royal Navy designs and became a prototype for its 74s.

Royal George is a great example of a ship model from the 18th century and provides a fascinating insight into the ship design of the period.

Models of Royal Navy ships were made by order of the Navy Board. Little is known about the men who built these models but, thanks to their surviving works, we know how their models were made.

While almost every ship model is different in its treatment of hull form and details, they fall into two principal types: the frame model and the block model. 

Copper sheathing on hulls and lighter cannons are two examples of improvements in Royal Navy ship design in the 18th century.

Between the 17th and 19th centuries the general design of Royal Navy warships changed very little. The designs were standardized by the system of Establishments.

Models of many of the Royal Navy’s ships were constructed by order of the Royal Navy Board, many of which still survive today.