Warship (1800); Third rate; 74 guns

Scale: unknown. A contemporary full hull model, built entirely of bone pinned onto a wooden frame. It is a somewhat larger scale than the normal bone POW model and the rather misshapen hull below the waterline illustrates perfectly that these models were built by eye since scaled plans were not available. This model is also fitted with the spring-loaded guns which, when pushed into the model for the loaded position, will ‘pop’ back out when the rope cord is pulled situated under the stern.

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: SLR0634
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model; Plank-on-frame; Rigged model
Display location: Not on display
Date made: Circa 1800
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall model: 630 x 923 x 295 mm; Base: 79 x 180 x 112 mm

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