HMS Victory – Architectonical model. A masterpiece with a great history that is displayed in our exhibition on the History of Shipbuilding.
On October the 21st 1805, one of the most important battles in the history of naval warfare took place: The Battle of Trafalgar. This decisive naval battle between the British Royal Navy under Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and the French and Spanish allies under Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve is seen as the start of a century of British global naval control. Lord Nelson won but died in the battle. He did both aboard his flagship, HMS Victory.
This ship, whose history we wrote in more detail in a post last year, was ordered in 1758 but not commissioned until 1778. After a refit that had her becoming the most powerful vessel of the Royal Navy, she became Nelson’s Flagship in 1803. After Trafalgar she was in a poor condition, but had become an iconic ship. In the 1830 she became probably the first museum ship in the world. Between 1921 and 2005 an incredible restoration/conservation project had her set back to her condition before Trafalgar. She is still on dry dock in Portsmouth, open for visitors and, as part of the British National Historic Fleet, by far the oldest commissioned naval ship.
It was as such that the excellent model maker Udo Flohr visited her. To describe his feeling as fascination would be too mild of a word. He had actually retired from model making, but he bought the book about HMS Victory by John McKay, published in 1987, and when from there on collecting all documentation he could find on the architecture and history of the ship. On a winter evening of 2008 he decided to start modeling again. He chose to build just the central section of the ship, in a scale of 1:75 and using pear wood. When this part was done he chose to build the bow part, letting planks off so the internal architecture he had fallen in love with could be appreciated. Of course, he did the stern section as well. Five years later the masterwork was completed. Udo Flohr eventually contacted our founder Prof. Peter Tamm, asking if the museum would be interested in the model. Need we say more?
It has since been displayed in our exhibition about shipbuilding on deck 3 of the museum.