Modeled in exacting fashion, First Rate Warship PRINCE REGENT of 120 Guns, belonging to the CALEDONIA Class of 1794 is represented here. The supreme sailing warships of their age, British Ships-of-the-Line were classified by the number of cannons they carried. Fewer than 18 in service at any point carried 100 guns or more to earn the first-rate designation. Considered a pinnacle artform of the ship modeling craft, bone ships made by prisoners during the Napoleonic Conflict are among the most collectible maritime artifacts to be identified. This example is an impressive carved bone warship, discovered hidden in an attic in the South of England for more than 100 years!
The model has a full rig, and the masts are set with numerous inlays of baleen and gold, as is the jib boom stay, the large rudder, and three deck barrels. The model and base are all original, with materials partially re-rigged after its discovery. The Man-O'-War shows exceptional custom carvings throughout, especially the elaborate quarter galleries, balustrades, fighting platforms and the ornate polychrome painted Roman Prince warrior figurehead with helmet and gladius broadsword. Thick lanes of baleen finish the deck and much of the hull, including the broad bulwark.
Beautifully detailed and proportioned, the model is in very good condition. The hull and base are very finely pinned and support red polychrome hatch covers for each cannon, three decks of guns in a 16/16/15 configuration per side. Twelve more upper deck guns per side make for a total of 118 cannons. The three square rigged masts have traditional fighting and observation platforms. The ship is complete as it rests on its ornate base of bone with red polychrome posts.
Innovations in the construction of sailing ships in the last half of the nineteen century, using knowledge gained primarily from French and American designs, allowed these large British sailing warships to be built stronger and faster. The prisoner-artisans involved in the creation of this fine model -likely a team of experienced sailors and craftsmen- would be proud of this exceptional nautical antique warship model.
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