Amelia (circa 1796); Warship; 38 gun frigate

Scale: Unknown. A contemporary full hull model of the 38-gun Frigate ‘Amelia’, made from bone and horn, pinned to a wooden core. The whole model is mounted on its original bone covered baseboard and displayed in the traditional glass domed case. The model is fully rigged with standing and running rigging and carries a white ensign on the stern and a union jack on the bowsprit. Other fittings include a pair of davits over the stern, two ships boats rigged from the yard tackles, anchors, and the standard figurehead of a classical warrior. The taffrail and stern gallery have painted decoration, including the name ‘Amelia’ inscribed on a small plaque on the counter. The other notable feature is that the turned brass guns along the main gundeck can be partially pushed into the hull, and by pulling the rope cords at the stern, they ‘pop out’ to the firing position.

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 realise a good price at market, the models were often named after famous ships of the time. The ‘Amelia’ was built in 1785 at Brest and originally named ‘La Proserpine’. Measuring 151 feet in length by forty feet in the beam and a tonnage of 1059, it was captured by the British ‘Dryad’ on 13 June 1796 and later taken into the Navy as the ‘Amelia’. She was eventually broken up in 1816.

Object Details

ID: SLR0642
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model; Rigged model
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Vessels: Amelia (1796)
Date made: circa 1796-1802
Credit: On loan to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, from a private lender
Measurements: Overall: 330 mm x 454 mm x 208 mm

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