This Napoleonic Prisoner of War model is in excellent condition with detailed rigging, nice quarter galleries, a carved rope rub rail, and contrasting accents. The deck has very fine details as well such as the nicely carved bell tower, capstan and other details. The cannon retraction system remains- there is a bar built into the model onto which all of the cannons on the lower deck are connected. If you pull the ball at the stern of the piece the system retracts the cannons. We don't recommend using these pulls because if the pulley system breaks there is no way to repair it while keeping the model together. Overall it's an outstanding presentation and beautiful work of the model's art.
From the very beginning, when the first French prisoner in the British prisons of the Napoleonic Wars started making these models in 1794, they were prized at the highest levels. The level of detail and craftsmanship achieve in such low conditions is extraordinary and even the admirals of the period who brought these models into their own homes knew it. Poor carving tools, with simple materials like the bones from their meals and the straw from their mattresses or off the floor, and no plans to work from- only memory.
The finest models would garner prisoners the best rewards in money or favors. Over time the masterworks of this craft have made their way into the finest collections all over the world. No substantial maritime museum would be complete without a model such as this in their collections and they have graced the private collections of Presidents and heads of state.
Like most of the prisoner-made models, this is of a British ship to favor the British officers or guards who were the prisoner's main clientele. However, in this case the subject vessel was also common to the French navy- the class of ships known as "the 74s"
The 74s were two decked ships of the line which were considered the backbone of the British Navy as well as the French Navy's most versatile ships. Developed by the French in the 1740's, the 74s would come to be seen as an excellent size with fine sailing qualities balanced with a good amount of firepower. By the late 1740's the British were copying the French ships with similar vessels soon after making their way into the Spanish, Dutch, Danish and Russian fleets. The designs were modified by each country and sometimes varied in everything from size and weight to the number and type of guns onboard. So it is possible to find 74s with more or less than 74 guns.
These Men-Of-War saw more naval combat in this era than any other type, remaining a major component of naval forces into the early 19th century, though some of these ships remained in service until the late 1800's when they were finally replaced by the ironclads.
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