A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, French,  early 19th century

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Lot 118
A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line,
French, early 19th century

£ 15,000 - 20,000
US$ 19,000 - 25,000
A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, French, early 19th century
the three-masted vessel with standing and running rigging, pinned and planked hull with horn strakes and red painted gun ports, retractable brass cannon operated by strings and toggles at the stern, three long boats on davits, carved and polychromed warrior figurehead, deck details include belaying rails capstan, water barrels stove pipes, gratings bell canopy and companionways, on rectangular parquetry wood stand, the model 30.5cm x 43cm x 13cm, together with a collection of correspondence relating to the provenance dated 1891 and later restoration invoices, in later glazed display case,
37cm x 56cm x 23cm cased

Footnotes

  • "From beef-bones of captivity/ The shapely hull was made/ Whose making helped upon their way/ Such limping hours and slow/ As measured out the leaden day/ That none but prisoners know"
    - Ode to a Prisoner of War Bone Ship Model

    The present lot was likely to have been made by a French prisoner-of-war in an English prison after the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st October 1805. The model is constructed using delicately carved and sewn beef-bones. Such bones would have been collected from a prisoner's rations of half a pound of meat per day, and subsequently carved. After completion, bone models would have been offered in regular markets held within the prison, and attended by local townsfolk. As many Napoleonic prisoners were conscripts, some would have been highly skilled carvers and craftsmen.
Contacts
A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, French,  early 19th century
A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, French,  early 19th century
A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, French,  early 19th century
A Prisoner-of-war bone model of a 90-gun ship-of-the-line, French,  early 19th century
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