Le Mars; Warship

Scale: unknown. A contemporary full hull model, rigged and complete with numerous fittings including a full set of boats, the whole of which is supported by green veneered crutches mounted on a straw-covered marquetry baseboard. This model was probably named after the ‘Mars’ of Trafalgar fame although typically, it includes fittings of both English and French design. Of particular interest is a twin binnacle box, mounted on deck just forward of the double wheel, which contains the two compasses from which the helmsman would steer a course.

It is also complete with hammock nettings along the top of the bulwarks, in which the hammocks, used for sleeping in below decks, were stored during the day. To protect them against the weather, the nettings were covered by a painted canvas sheet lashed to the iron cranes. This additional height above the deck also gave extra protection to the gun crews from small arms fire during battle.

Apart from the rich and ornately carved wooden decoration, the lower wooden hull is covered with copper to give the impression of copper sheathing, used to prevent damage from both the marine boring worm ‘teredo navalis’ and weed growth.

During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815), large numbers of French prisoners were housed in open prisons throughout Britain. Their daily food ration included half a pound of beef or mutton on the bone. Subsequently, the bone became a readily available source of raw material from which a variety of objects were crafted. Other materials were also used including wood, horn, brass, silk, straw and glass. Typically, the models were not made to scale as accurate scale plans were not available and tools were limited. To realize a good price at market, the models were often named after famous ships of the time, whilst some models included spring-loaded guns operated by cords.

Object Details

ID: SLR0617
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model; Rigged model
Display location: Not on display
Vessels: Le Mars
Date made: circa 1800
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall model: 570 x 795 x 275 mm; Base: 110 x 613 x 185 mm

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.