French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince
French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince
French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince

French Prisoner-of-War Ship Model, HMS Prince

  • This incredible model of the HMS Prince was made by a French prisoner during the Napoléonic Wars
  • The 98-gun ship displays exceptional detailing, from the deck planking to the rigging
  • Complex in size and artistry, the monumental objet d'art is handcrafted of mutton bone
  • The museum-quality ship comes encased in a custom glass display box
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Item No. 30-6085
$84,500
description
specifications
description
This monumental and rare ship model is a stunning example of the highly detailed works created by French prisoners during the Napoléonic Wars. Remarkable in both size and intricacy, the massive model ship represents the HMS Prince, a 98-gun ship of the line of the Royal Navy that fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. Handcrafted from mutton (sheep) bone, this model boasts impeccable craftsmanship and artistry from bow to stern. Every detail is reconstructed with exacting attention, from the system of pulleys and rigging of the upper deck to the luxuriously carved captain's cabin at the ship’s stern. Because of the intricacy of these fascinating objets d'art, very few of these models have survived the test of time.

The years of war between Napoléon and Britain’s King George III were long and arduous, and during this time captured French prisoners spent years in British prisons. Many of the inmates at the prisoner-of-war camps were skilled artisans long before they were soldiers, and because of the long duration of the conflict and cost of care, their captors encouraged detainees to use their skills to create objects to be sold at civilian open markets.

By many accounts, Napoléonic prisoners of war were confined to mostly makeshift prisons in old castles, naval dockyards, and purpose-built camps. Though treated fairly well, they were typically kept in dark conditions and were not allowed to have objects that could be used as weapons, including tools. Thus, inmates would have had to create these amazing models using only handmade tools with scraps of whatever was available, all in poor lighting conditions. With this perspective, the precision and intricacy of this model are even more awe-inspiring. Today, prisoner-of-war crafts such as this incredible model ship are among the most intriguing and coveted antiques on the market.

The museum-quality prisoner-of-war model is housed in a custom glass case. 

Circa 1800

Case: 25 1/4" high x 36 7/8" wide x 16 1/2" deep
Ship: 20 3/4" high x 25" wide x 8 1/2" deep
specifications
Dimensions: 36 7/8"W x 25 1/4"H
Period: 19th Century
Origin: France
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