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Builders Dockyard Model S.S.MINARD CASTLE

A very sharp and clean British Dockyard Builders Ship Model of a rare, early type in its original case, S.S. MINARD CASTLE shows as an example of the transitional period of merchant steamships with auxiliary sails, the rig used in complement to its Dual Cylinder Engines. The model is sharply lined, as the vessel itself was, and is quite attractive with its natural wood hull reflecting the materials used to build the ship and representative model alike.

Three pairs of small boats hang on davits parallel to its type: lifeboats, crew launches and officer’s boats. The deck is complete with four hatches, cabins fore and aft in number, and all the inked details of the many doors and windows. A full contingent of winches, booms and working gear complement her masts and sqaure-rigged sails. Her somewhat narrow beam of 32' compared to her 322' length and 26' depth of hold would have made her a challenging ship to sail and power, as her history proves.

MINARD CASTLE was built by Raylton Dixon & Co. in Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire on the River Tees. Sir Raylton Dixon would build more ships than any other builder on the South Bank, first partnered with John Backhouse, and then with his brothers, John and Waynman. Raylton would become mayor of Middlesbrough in 1889. MINARD CASTLE wasn’t as fortunate. Launched in 1882, the 2,460 -ton vessel would wreck six miles southeast of Hong Kong on April 10, 1883 while carrying a cargo bound for Saigon, at a total loss. Her fine display in this model in its original case help us understand what a tragedy that must have been to her builders and owner, Thomas Skinner of the Cleveland Dockyard. A very rare and early steam/sail transition Merchant Ship Dockyard Model in superior original condition.

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Builders Model Hull of French Iron Clad Warship
Ocean Class Iron Clad Frigate of 1869

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French Warship Sailing Model
Napoleonic Prisoner-of-War of 74 Guns

Sailing among the massive 100-plus Gun First Rates of the Napoleonic Sailing Warships, the French and British Navies were well represented by a vast number of capable vessels. The single classification that most belonged to would be the 72-to-82 Gun Ships that made up the French Standard and British Third-Rate classes. Considered to be both the ‘Backbone of the British Royal Navy’ and the French Admiralty’s most versatile warship, these Men-Of-War saw more of the naval combat in this era than any other type.

A sharp and finely carved ship model, a Trojan Warrior Figurehead holds the bow forward, shield and sword at the ready, with traditional carved rope line rails, and catted anchors, followed by a bell in its belfry and a deck capstan and barrels. The hull is pinned and planked, with contrasting gunwales between the decks of cannons, their ports painted the traditional blood red. The finely carved stern and quarter galleries echo the elite cabins of the officer’s living quarters. The base fits the model perfectly in style and size.

This work of precise modelers art was made in a British wartime prison, and it records the French pride the skillful makers held for their naval ships. Where most of the Prisoner-made models were of British ships, to find a ready market sale through the guards, this particular 74-Gun warship still held her French identity of her artisans. A great example of this elusive and sought after nautical art form.

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Les Heros, 74 Gun Ship of the Line
Napoleonic Prisoner of War Bone Ship Model


An exceptional large and finely carved Napoleonic Bone Ship Model of a named warship, LES HEROS is a beautiful work of craftsmanship and art. LES HEROS is believed to have been built in 1795 as a 74-gun French warship, and her model is exceptionally well detailed with exact stern galleries, bulwark of relief carved leaves with a gold foil set behind, and intricate carved inner railings that stand out to the eye. Gold and baleen bands alternate in the masts and booms of the ship, in a greater amount than any other example we’ve seen. The bone plank hulled is pinned construction, and had to be made by prisoner-artisans that knew the real craft of building and sailing such a ship.

LES HEROS would end up serving British interests valiantly in defense of the realm against the French Navy of Napoleon, even though she had started her career as a French Warship. Unfortunately, records of her actions before being de-masted and captured by the British in 1802 are undiscovered.

A pure example of the quality of work performed under the rather bleak circumstances make this very large Napoleonic Prisoner-of-War ship model artifact a fascinating and highly desired piece. The fine carving on this ship model is top flight, and the complete sense that the artisan bequeathed the ship makes it stand above others. Very ornate stretches of carved bulwarks in leaf patterns line the hull. Easier to work but just as spectacular are the alternating gold-and-baleen mast bands and the connectors between the sternpost and rudder. The finely carved stern and quarter galleries echo the finer realities of the officers living quarters, when compared to the ordinary and able seamen living arraignments in the forecastle and amongst the guns, 16 of which are visible on deck; turned metal set in stepped carriages of bone. The rest poke ominously out of each gunport, at the ready. The carved crown-wearing monarch figurehead at the bow is positioned in a rather stalwart pose.

The model ship is set on a period marquetry base with a fancy edged carved bone solid rail, of very unusual character. The risers of bone elevate it off the base oak of an old and most likely original case to the model, almost unheard of for a artifact of this age and size.

A model made by men held in a British War Prison, it is testament to the individuals involved on both sides. The artistry speaks of the French pride and skill, while the ship has a shared history between the warring nations. This is an exceptional quality Napoleonic Bone Ship model of an impressive and rare size.

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Live Steam Launch Ship Model BAT
20th Century Scratch-Built Model of Famous 1891 Vessel

Extremely fine workmanship went into this live-steam scratch-built 1/8 scale model in complete working order. It is a late-20th Century model of the Windermere Boat built by Brockbank from her first owner, Alfred Sladen, from his own design. Completed fitted out with a working engine and equipment, in is absolutely an artisan ship model, set in a heavy brass-edged glass case for display.

The hull is plank-on-frame, painted red below the waterline, Historically, BAT was the first ship ever steered by remote control, from the experiments of Isaac Story and Jack Kitchen. It is believed the first example of a vessel being controlled by radio. Found derelict at Bowness in 1966, she was rebuilt and now can be found in the Windermere Steamboat Museum. This epic British scratch-built live model is one of four known to have been built to this quality.

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Silver Plated Model of a Sandbagger Yacht Circa 1890
American Gaff-Rigged Sloop


Exceptional and large-size rigged silver plated model of a sandbagger with sails, American, circa 1890. The hull has a very accurate shape. The stem and keel are elaborately engraved with a fancy pattern. The hull has scribe planking and the exterior bulwarks has a fancy engraved pattern. The deck has scribed planking with applied silver chalks, blocks and at the stern a traveler. The model has a large oval cockpit with raised combing an an oval seat. Standing on the starboard rear cockpit seat is a sailor holding the tiller which is attached to the beautifully shaped rudder with engraved thistle and decorative patterns. There is a silver chain running from the chalk just forward of the mast to the port and starboard anchors hanging overboard. The spars are also made of silver and there is a banner flying from the peak of the top mast. The rigging is very detailed and is made of twisted silver wire. The sails are silver plated and have scribed seams and applied silver reef lines. There is an elaborate cluster of various size blocks supporting the gaff and jib. The model has a very elaborate base with square feet and applied conch shells. The sides of the base are 2 1/8 inches high and are set at an angle. At each corner is an applied dolphin and the sides of the base are engraved in elaborate patterns. The top and bottom of the sides have molded edges. The top of the base has a silver liner with beveled edge with conch shells running around the perimeter with a distance between them of 3 1/2 inches. The model is attached to the base at three points in the keel and at at two points on opposite sides of the hull. Next to the port and starboard hull supports are applied conch shell and seaweed silver decorations.

This is one of the finest and most elaborate examples of a silver plated model of the late nineteenth century. The time and skill required to build this model and base was monumental.

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