POW wooden ship model. This delicate miniature is under 30 cm long and stands with other specially valuables objects in the Treasure Chamber of the museum, on deck 8.
During the Napoleonic Wars and other conflicts of the early 19th century, Great Britain captured over 100.000 prisoners of war. Specially those taken early in the conflict, spent many years on British soil or shore. The conditions under which they were interned varied a lot; between those who suffered in awful ship hulks and the officers that could, under parole, enjoy an almost free civilian life. Those among the POWs that were talented enough with their hands, could earn money producing and selling objects of all kinds. The most famous among those objects are the POW Bone Ship Models, that they made from the leftover bones from the meat in their rations. Those among you who have been following us a while may have seen some examples of our marvelous collection of Bone Ship Models. The collection Peter Tamm also owns and display other maritime related decorative objects made by those prisoners.
This tiny wooden first rate ship-of-the-line is one of those amazing pieces. The condition – with both its original rigging and painting – let us guess that it was preserved away from direct sunlight and in places where both the humidity and the temperatures did not varied too much. This are aspects that can ruin an antique pice like this one quite fast. The only part that dies not appear to be original are the flags. Delicately built and painted, this model was obviously the work of an expert crafter. The accuracy with which the ship is reproduces shows us its builder had an extensive naval knowledge. The materials employed to build this masterpiece are rather basic, so it was probably an object made by the artist to show his abilities and try to win orders from customers to earn better money. Sadly, the name of the builder is unknown. The same goes for the name of the ship, even if it is possible that the builder’s intention was just to portray a general type of ship.
This delicate miniature is under 30 cm long and stands with other specially valuables objects in the Treasure Chamber of the museum, on deck 8.