'Pommern' (1903); Merchant vessel; Cargo vessel; Four-masted barque

Scale: 1:100. A somewhat clinical model of the famous grain ship 'Pommern' (1903) by the Finnish modelmaker Victor Andersson who, as a resident of Mariehamn, would have had the actual vessel, permanently moored nearby, for reference. It was commissioned by, and made for, the National Maritime Museum in 1976.

Various details are slightly over-scaled, like the rails and running rigging, and many other fittings look too large on account of them being painted too brightly. It is a good example of how modern white paint, with its optical brighteners, needs to be used by modelmakers with care. The painted green finish that Andersson applied to the fittings and equipment is also too bright for the scale of the model, and gives us no indication of aerial perspective. The barque’s name has been shakily applied to the bows and wheelhouse. Nevertheless it was on long-term display in the Museum’s ‘Seapower in the Twentieth Century’ gallery as an example of the last generation of wind-powered cargo vessels that were still plying the world’s oceans a century ago.

The ship, Scottish-built by J. Reid & Company, Port Glasgow, is a steel-hulled four-masted barque. ‘Mneme’, as she was originally called, typified the ultimate development of the sailing ship. At 95 metres in length, a 50 metre mainmast (all the masts were of tubular steel construction), and 2376 gross registered tons, she had a cargo capacity of 4050 tons.

Built for German owners, after the end of the First World War she was handed over to Greece. She was then sold to the famous Åland shipowner, Gustaf Erikson and, from that day, she has flown the Finnish flag. While in the Chilean nitrate trade she twice sailed from the Lizard, southwest England, to Valparaiso in 65 days. On the grain runs from Australia to Britain her average time over seven years was 85 days, an outstanding record. In 1939 ‘Pommern’ made her last journey from Hull to her homeport Mariehamn just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Gustaf Erikson died in 1947 and the barque was put up for sale. No buyers could be found as by this time she was in need of expensive repairs and regarded as a relic of a bygone age. However five years later Gustaf Erikson's son Edgar, and his sister Eva Hohentahl, presented the ‘Pommern’ to the town of Mariehamn. Since then, she has been brought back to something like her former glory, including a new set of 28 sails – a total of 3240 square metres of canvas. In being given this new lease of life she has become a major tourist attraction and an icon of the great age of sail. She remains the finest and most authentic large merchant sailing ship in the world.

Object Details

ID: SLR1353
Collection: Ship models
Type: Full hull model; Rigged model
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Victor Andersson, Victor
Vessels: Pommern 1903
Date made: 1976
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall model: 573 x 1086 x 280 mm; Support: 70 x 90 mm

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