Building ships’ models is a fine art reaching back to long-
DURING the last fifteen years the interest in ships’ models of all sorts, and especially those which represent sailing vessels, has developed significantly. The reason is not hard to appreciate.
There has always been a sentimental regard for sailing ships, and for thousands of years human hands have delighted to reproduce them in miniature. But the shortage of food during the war of 1914-
VOTIVE OFFERINGS in the form of model ships were placed in the churches of Catholic maritime countries in early times. In some ports votive models are still to be found. This photograph shows the rigging of a Danish votive ship formerly in a church near Gothenburg, and now in the Maritime Museum of that city.
To fashion the hull of a model ship with accuracy; to set up rigging and sails and lead halyards or sheets in a proper seamanlike manner; to produce a finished article that will not offend the sailor’s eyes -
Human knowledge, exploration, colonization, commerce, prosperity and invention are all based on travel -
It is impossible to understand fully the Crusades, the voyages of Columbus, the planting of America, or the Anglo-
The number of early drawings and paintings dealing with seafaring is comparatively few, for the reason that until after the sixteenth century travel by ship was regarded with nervousness and even with horror. Artists did not care to set down subjects that aroused unpleasant memories, except for some special purpose, as, for instance, commemorating the deliverance from shipwreck after a storm. Occasionally a medieval artist’s subject shows a contemporary vessel in the foreground, though more frequently it is placed inconspicuously in the background. Not, perhaps, till the Van de Veldes of the seventeenth century, and the confidence begotten of reliable ocean-
A drawing or painting does not however, completely satisfy; at the best it is flat and only partly realistic. We cannot see the hull below water, nor touch the planking, nor set the yards according to the wind. We must needs accept what the artist has seen fit to offer, and no more. On the other hand, a ship-
A MODEL OF A LATE THIRTEENTH-
National and municipal nautical museums have been completely overhauled and rearranged, and others have come into being. Not merely in London, but also in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, and other parts of the British Isles; also in Paris, Dunkirk, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Madrid; and in various towns of Germany and Scandinavia, such collections are now given proper care and attention. From lumber-
Not many years ago such faithful restoration would have been impossible. Most of the genuinely old hulls had been re-
We may divide all ship-
In the whole story of our subject there is a line of demarcation which occurs about the mid-
But after the mid-
In such countries as Great Britain, Sweden and Holland, the Reformation generally banished these model craft so ruthlessly that most of them were destroyed. With them passed some of the most priceless ship records, though it is interesting to note that a reversion of that policy has taken place within recent years. In Southwold (Suffolk) parish church new sailing models are now hanging from the roof, and a Southampton church contains a beautiful model of a liner.
Queen Elizabeth had not died before Phineas Pett, member of that illustrious family which for generations did more than any other for English ship-
Spain possesses two of the oldest and most interesting models that survive from the sixteenth century. And first, let us call attention to the hull of a Spanish galleon dated 1540, or nearly fifty years before the Armada. (See illustration below). Some readers may not see much beauty in this votive model, which in the course of centuries has come down to us without masts or yards. Yet the details of the stern and forecastle, the short waist, the long halfdeck, the wales and rubbing strakes -
DATED 1540. Spain possesses two of the oldest models that survive from the sixteenth century. Above is the model hull of a Spanish galleon of 1540 which gives the ship-
This early model, which is in the Madrid Naval Museum, may be a rough job, but at least it is the creation of a seafarer and not of a landsman. But the finest contemporary model of a four-
derived from sound sources could combine to produce an enviably improved replica.
There survive a few old hanging ship-
If these three photographs be accepted as showing what can be learned from old and contemporary patterns, we can next proceed to the replicas of bygone vessels, as the present generation views them. Apart from stained glass windows, and the seals of such ports as Dover, La Rochelle, Hastings, Winchelsea, Sandwich and a few other sources, pictorial data of medieval ships are somewhat scant. Illustrated on this page is a model of a late thirteenth century English crusader, made recently by an amateur craftsman, Mr. G. F. Campbell. This modern reconstruction was rendered possible after much research, and by relying largely on the Winchelsea and Sandwich seals. Although here seen only partly finished, we have a clinker-
One of the famous sailing warships was the Soveraigne of the Seas, built by Pett on the Thames-
Now the Soveraigne of the Seas has in recent years inspired the ablest modellers both in England and America, because of her impressive beauty and decoration. Mundy called her “the greatest and fairest that ever was water borne of English built.” Measuring 145 feet along the keel, she was more impressive than useful, and a source of great anxiety to her officers. Blake, in reporting the battle of the Kentish Knock, mentioned the narrow escape the vessel suffered through getting ashore during that engagement. She “began to stick, but, blessed be God, . . . got off again.” The abnormal high weights of her upper works and guns made her so crank (liable to list or upset) that eventually she had to be cut down. Originally she carried 102 guns on three tiers, and on her fore and main flew royals above her topgallant sails.
THE SOVERAIGNE OF THE SEAS a 1,522-
In the unfinished model before us, made by Mr. V. H. Green, we have some idea of how ably a modern representation of an old ship can be done The beak ends with a figure of King Edgar riding his enemies underfoot, and the amount of decorative work -
The Navy Board again emphasized this rule in the year 1716. It is partly because of such regulations that so many contemporary ship models still survive in our public and private collections. So also in seventeenth-
After all, this detailed effort does not in principle differ so much from the making of those paraffin-
AN HISTORIC VESSEL—the D’Halve Maen. A model of Henry Hudson’s ship which sailed from Holland in 1607 to search for the North-
But the finest instance of profound and accurate historical knowledge being combined with reproduction belongs to Hudson’s Half Moon, a vessel that is only slightly less memorable than Columbus’s Santa Maria and Drake’s Golden Hind. The Half Moon is worthy of mention in the same category as the pilgrim ship Mayflower, one of her contemporaries.
The sequence of our story is unusually interesting, and begins in the year 1606, when a number of English people started off down the Thames, arriving a few months later on the North American continent. There they made a plantation in Virginia. Among them was that great character, Captain John Smith, one of the outstanding names in colonization. In 1609 a ship called the Mary Margaret brought home in duplicate from Virginia a “Mappe of the Bay and Rivers”. This survey had been made by Smith for the London merchants who financed the expedition, but the duplicate was for that other English discoverer, Henry Hudson, and the present had an important result.
The Dutch East India Company at that time was anxious to find the North-
Hudson turned west and sailed past the Faeroes, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Early in September he was exploring the river that still bears his name, and landed on the spot where a few years later the first Dutch settlers were to found New Amsterdam -
In 1909, when the United States were having their Hudson-
PRINTS, PICTURES AND DOCUMENTS of Hudson’s period were carefully examined before Mr. G. E. Crone made this wonderful model of the Half Moon. The painted decoration of the lower part of the upper planking is light or dark blue, the upper part green on red. The counter is light blue bearing the arms of Amsterdam, three white St. Andrew crosses on black, with red on either side. The arms are also on the stern flag with their supporting lions; on the foremast are the same municipal colours. At the main is the red-
With one assistant he set to work and, after twelve months’ delicate painstaking, produced the Half Moon -
The six sails are absolutely correct, and even the five men are excellent bits of characterization. High up on the mizenmast in the crow’s-
Not unnaturally numerous models purporting to represent Columbus’s Santa Maria have been made by all sorts of people in recent years, and with varying success.
The “Santa Maria's” Measurements
In the world-
But still more modern is the recently finished Santa Maria by Mr. E. V. Michael, which is a beautiful piece of work and constructed to scale. It will be noticed that no mistake of ratlines has here been made. But it is doubtful if a quite correct Santa Maria, of unquestioned accuracy in all her details, could nowadays be fashioned. We know that she was a trading carrack, but her length of hull (between stem and stern-
RECENTLY FINISHED. A beautiful model of Columbus’s ship the Santa Maria, made by Mr. E. V. Michael. This model has been constructed to scale, and the details of her rigging and other features are as near perfect as possible.
As to what a medieval carrack did look like, we are thrown back for trustworthy information on such details as are found in Carpaccio’s well-
It will be found in practice advisable to select one special period of seafaring, or one particular vessel, rather than to begin with the oldest and then work down to modern times. If, for example, the Santa Maria be chosen, then a great delight will be taken in reading the contemporary accounts of Columbus’s voyages and his own diary. From these we obtain all sorts of illuminating items concerning the life on board. We can see the crew bringing their salt meat, bacon, live lambs, calves heifers, biscuit, corn and wine for the long voyaging , we can learn that in a favourable wind the speed of these late-
But those enthusiasts who are fortunate enough to live within easy distance of some lake, reservoir, or sheltered still water may prefer to concentrate on making practicable models of full-
A model of the three-
One of the most convincing working models -
Flying the White Ensign, she slipped along with marvellous similarity to a big ship. “I got a bit anxious on one occasion outside Plymouth Breakwater,” Admiral Lyne has said, “when a bit of a squall caught us.” He relates the following anecdote. “We carried two saluting guns and were very generous with them to departing guests. On first meeting with the Commander-
THE SANTA MARIA, a model of Christopher Columbus’s famous ship. Numerous models have been constructed of this vessel, but the exact dimensions of the original ship are not known. Her length of hull has been variously estimated from 74 feet to as much as 86½ feet, and her supposed beam was anything from 25 to 27½ feet. Her displacement was under 250 tons.
[From Part 9, published 7 April 1936]