Tradescant Collection

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The Catalogue: Model Ship
" Introduction
" The Cabinet of
" The John Tradescants
" The Tradescant
" Musaeum
" The Tradescant
" Further Reading
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" About this Resource
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(Length 0.61 m; Height (keel to main deck) 130 mm; Beam 135 mm
The hull of this little model is carved from solid oak. It has a round bow with a long decorated beak-head surmounted by a delicate scroll; the open stern gallery leads directly to similarly open quarter galleries. Each broadside comprises six guns with two bow chasers and two stern chasers; there are no guns mounted on the upper deck. All the guns are half-barrels only, their fixing-pins pushed into holes in the centre of each mock port. The hull is painted white below the waterline and dark brown above; there are traces of red on the forecastle mouldings and ochre on the sides at the level of the poop. The beak-head and the stern gallery decoration are both grey picked out with gold. The model is rigged with a bowsprit and three masts. The bowsprit is fitted with a spritsail yard, a top and spritsail topmast and spritsail topsail yard. The foremast and mainmast each have a lower yard, a top, topsail yard and a topgallant yard; the mizzen mast has a lateen yard, a cross-jack yard, a top and topsail yard. The original rigging having suffered severe damage over the years, restoration of the model was undertaken in 1980 by Mr James Lees of the Conservation Workshops in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. The model was restored in keeping with the original workmanship: the restoration is obvious on reasonably close inspection, and a detailed description of the work undertaken was published in 1982.
The crudeness of workmanship notwithstanding, the general effect of the model is pleasing. While there is no way of determining precisely when it was built, it is certain that it was made between 1600 and 1685, when it was first recorded. The spritsail topmast and the angled beak-head produce between them a fairly narrow chronological band when both features were found together. All that can be said of the model's identity, then, is that it represents a small vessel, probably a merchant ship, c.1605-30.
Museum Id. No:
1685 B no. 758: Duae naves prostratae exacte structae; variisque tormentis bellicis ex ligno elaboratis exoneratae
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