Rare Model Ship Made by Prisoner of War at Bonhams Marine Sale

Life as a prisoner of war during the French Revolutionary Wars (1892-1802) was nasty and brutish but above all boring. To while away the time, prisoners carved model ships using whatever material was available. A fine early 19th century boxwood example, made by an unknown French prisoner, of the first-class ship of the line HMS Foudroyant, is one of the stars of Bonhams Marine Sale in London on Wednesday 21 April. It is estimated at £18,000-24,000.

Bonhams Senior Picture Specialist Rhyanon Demery said: "This model of HMS Foudroyant is a fascinating insight into the skill and precision French prisoners of war were able to achieve despite the notoriously harsh and crowded conditions they had to endure. It's in particularly fine condition and I expect a lot of interest from collectors."

HMS Foudroyant was launched at Plymouth in 1798 and had originally been selected by Horatio Nelson whilst on the stocks to be his flagship in 1797. Unfortunately, she was not ready in time and therefore narrowly missed being the fleet flagship at the Battle of the Nile. In June 1799 at Palermo, Nelson transferred his flag from HMS Vanguard to Foudroyant and she remained his flagship until his return to England in 1800. After a refit, she became the flagship of Lord Keith and was present at the capitulation of the French at Alexandria in 1801.

Other highlights include:

• A royal yacht, men o'war, and two galliots becalmed off a coast by Charles Brooking (British 1723-1759). Consigned from a private collection in France, it is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

• Morning Mist by Montague Dawson (British, 1890-1973). Estimated at £20,000-30,000.


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