Warship (1810); French; Frigate; 44-46 guns

Scale: unknown. A contemporary full hull model of a French 44-46-gun frigate, fully rigged and complete with its original wooden marquetry baseboard. It is a very well proportioned and finely executed model and rather uniquely, all of the topmast and topgallant masts are fashioned from bone as opposed to the lower mast, which are made from wood. The lower hull has been sheathed with copper plates whilst the upper part of the hull and decks are fitted with large amount of fixtures and fittings, including the boats.

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 since 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: SLR0664
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model; Rigged model
Display location: Not on display
Date made: Circa 1810
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall model and base: 410 x 535 x 170 mm

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