A fine and large prisoner-of-war bone model of the first-rate ship H.M.S. "Caledonia", early 19th century, 48x22x67in(122x56x170cm)overall.
Lot 121
A fine and large prisoner-of-war bone model of the first-rate ship H.M.S. "Caledonia", French, early 19th century,
Sold for £ 69,600 (US$ 97,788) inc. premium

Lot Details
A fine and large prisoner-of-war bone model of the first-rate ship H.M.S. "Caledonia", French, early 19th century,
hull of finely-pinned bone planks on to a solid wooden core to the lower gun deck. Pierced with gun ports and open port lids for turned brass cannon, the upper deck guns on bone carriages. Raised carved bone topsides with foliate carved gunwales and open hammock rails to the waist. Beakhead with pierced trailboard and good carved figurehead of a Roman warrior with flowing cloak, carved catheads flanking seats of easement to port and starboard. Decks of laid bone planks, pierced for gratings at the waist and gangways. Delicately carved pin rails, capstan, belfry with brass bell, ladders and hatchways. Bone harness casks for Rum, water, salt beef & pork positioned at the waist and gangway. Quarter deck with cabin skylight, finely carved aft rail with ensign staff and carved polychome figure of a naval officer. Carefully carved and pierced stern and quarter galleries on three levels, the main stern decoration the Royal Arms flanked by supporting figures. A ship's boat, fitted with scale bone oars, is suspended from stern davits above. Beneath the transom are the two bone buttons for retracting the lower guns (not tested). Detailed and accurate masting, the lower spars composite with black/gold wolding. Bowsprit and jibboom with dolphin striker and jackstaff, fighting tops with brass treads and lantern, crosstrees and English-style caps. Fine bone yards, the lowers fitted with brass studding sail booms, well made bone blocks and euphroes. Scale cotton and linen rigging in accurate sizes, with detailed whipping and splicing, the main and fore stays rigged with preventers and bone spacers. Other details include brass and bone anchors with cables and buoys, silk flags and a pair of ship's boats slung between the fore and main yards in the waist. Mounted on crutches in a Museum quality bronze frame display case.
Model 39x14x29.5in(99x35.5x75cm). 48x22x67in(122x56x170cm)overall.


  • At the time of her completion the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy and only the second vessel in the fleet to mount 120 guns, H.M.S. "Caledonia" was laid down in Plymouth Dockyard on 1st January 1805 and launched by Sir William Rule - one of the Surveyors of the Navy and the man who had designed her - on Saturday, 25th June 1808. Originally ordered as a 100-gun first rate but altered whilst on the stocks, her gundeck measured an impressive 205 feet in length, her beam was a massive 54 1/2 feet in breadth and she displaced 4,596 tons (2,616 tons burthen). In every respect she was a magnificent fighting ship and, with the Napoleonic Wars still at their height, she was commissioned as soon as she was ready for sea with a complement of 866 men and boys.

    "Caledonia" saw her first taste of action in the spring of 1809 when as flagship to Admiral Lord Gambia, she played a central role in the daring fireship attack on the French fleet lying in the Basque Roads, off St. Nazaire, on 11-12th April. Although Lord Gambia was subsequently criticised for not pressing home his advantage to even greater effect, it was nevertheless a notable victory and one from which his ship emerged with the reputation for reliability which stayed with her throughout her long life. Despite the success of the Basque Roads operation, the blockade of France's ports continued year on year and "Caledonia" was still on station off St. Nazaire when, on 24th February 1811, she was struck by lightning during a severe storm. Even though only one man was seriously hurt, her fore topmast split completely in half and her foremast was also badly damaged necessitating a trip to Portsmouth where a new mast was fitted. When this work had been completed, she became flagship to Admiral Sir Edward Pellew - later Lord Exmouth of Algiers fame - and with him went out to the Mediterranean on a tour of duty lasting three years. Whilst there, she was flagship at the fall of Genoa on 18th April 1814 where several enemy warships, including the 74-gun "Brilliant", were captured. Returning home that August when it appeared that the war with France was finally at an end, she was laid up in Plymouth and not commissioned again until 1830. Used as an experimental ship in 1831, she was then extensively refitted prior to serving two more terms as flagship in the Mediterranean before being withdrawn from active service in the early 1850's.

    In 1856 she was fitted out to take the place of the old "Dreadnought" seamen's Hospital Ship moored at Greenwich and the following year was renamed "Dreadnought", not only for the sake of continuity but also because the name of "Caledonia" was needed for a new ironclad then building at Woolwich. Fulfilling the role of a floating infirmary until the hospital facility was moved ashore in 1873, she was by then deemed no longer worth saving or even hulking and was towed to Chatham where she was broken up early in 1875.

    It is believed this model was built in 1807 and re-rigged by Mr. Hunt, Sailing Master R.N. (ret'd.) in 1934.

    Provenance: The 2nd Viscount Runciman

    Walter Leslie Runciman, 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, was born on 26th August 1900, the elder son of the 1st Viscount and his wife Hilda. Educated at Eton - where he was a King's Scholar - and Trinity College, Cambridge, he pursued a distinguished career in business where his directorships included Lloyd's Bank, of which he was Deputy Chairman from 1962-71. Director-General of the British Overseas Airways Corporation from 1940-43, this experience led to his appointment as Air Commodore and Air Attache in Teheran from 1943-46 and he subsequently served as a member of the Air Transport Advisory Council from 1946-54, latterly as its Vice-Chairman. His wide commercial shipping interests were reflected by his chairmanship of the North of England Shipowners' Association in 1931-32 and again in 1970-71, whilst in 1952 he sat as President of the U.K.'s Chamber of Shipping and Chairman of the General Council of British Shipping. Appointed President of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects the previous year (1951), he held this post for ten years and then became a member of the Shipping Advisory Panel in 1962. That same year he was made a trustee of the National Maritime Museum and upon relinquishing this position in 1972, he was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites, a post he occupied until 1986 whilst, almost concurrently, serving as President of the Marine Society (1974-89). Enjoying the dual distinction of being an Honorary Elder Brother of Trinity House as well as an Honorary Member of the Company of Master Mariners, he was - like his father - an enthusiastic yachtsman and long-time member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. His notable contributions to the Squadron's activities were rewarded by his appointment as one of the club's first two Rear-Commodores (together with Lord Cathcart) in 1962 and, in 1968, he succeeded H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh as Commodore. His two consecutive terms of office in the Royal Yacht Squadron were marked by a series of modernising initiatives, most particularly in the organisation of Cowes Week, and when he retired in 1974, the club's affairs were in a high state of efficiency. Lord Runciman died on 1st September 1989 and was succeeded by his son as 3rd Viscount.

    Phillips sale lot 150 10th August 2000
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