• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7489

    Important Maritime Art

    31 October 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 38

    An exceptional and large Napoleonic prisoner-of-war bone model of H.M.S. Prince of Wales, a 98-gun Second Rate ship-of- the-line, circa 1800

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    An exceptional and large Napoleonic prisoner-of-war bone model of H.M.S. Prince of Wales, a 98-gun Second Rate ship-of- the-line, circa 1800
    The hull, built up over a wooden plug, which has been hollowed, planked and pinned in bone from the keel to the waterline and from the waterline up, alternating in horn and bone between the gunports. At the bow is a delicately carved figurehead in the form of a Roman warrior with a feathered headdress with residual polychrome colouring, peak rails carved in relief with a swag pattern and the figure of a mermaid, the bowsprit rigged with a forked dolphin stryker. The deck is planked and pinned in bone and detailed with pin and fife rails, gunports, deck-rings, cleats, capstan, belfry with brass bell, a pair of ship's boats as well as a launch and gig, pierced deck gratings, deck-rings, water casks and barrels, boxed compass, stairway, skylight and deckhouse, and other details. The stern is fitted with decorated quarter and stern galleries which are carved and pierced, and detailed in relief with geometric motifs, and, at the base of each quarter gallery, with a sun and palm fronds. The windows are glazed in mica. The transom, supporting a pair of davits with a carved wooden launch with bone seats, and decorated with a lion and unicorn centered on a crown and royal cross, a pair of angels adorning either side, with further mythological and floral motifs, two balconies with carved posts and railings. Her name Prince of Wales carved in relief on the lower portion of the transom just above the rudder post, with a pair of pulls for retractable cannons. The rigging includes a bowsprit and three masts, each mast with tops, trees, cross spars and stun' sail booms, the aft rail of tops decorated with polychrome ornamentation in a Royal motif with flags and cannons, and the top of each rail fitted with a pair of rail cannons on swivels. The standing and running rigging includes ratlines running up from bone chain plates, and rigged with bone deadeyes and bead fairleads. Most of the turning blocks are also either of bone or beads, other parts of the standing rigging includes stays, shrouds, intermediate shrouds, and running backstays. Running rigging includes sheets, halyards, topping lifts, bracing lines, and other rigged details.
    displayed on a pair of modern carved walnut dolphin cradles within a period glass and wood framed vitrine, on a modern plinth
    the model, 42½ x 15 x 32½ in. (108 x 38.2 x 82.5 cm.)
    the case, 62 x 22½ x 82 in. (157.5 x 57.2 x 208.4 cm.)
    See back cover illustration


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    H.M.S. Prince of Wales was a magnificent ship-of-the-line named in honour of the Prince of Wales, later King George IV). One of a pair of identical Second Rates [the other being H.M.S. Boyne] ordered in 1783. Designed by Surveyor Hunt and built under the direction of Master Shipwright George White, she was laid down in Portsmouth Dockyard in May 1784 and, after fully ten years on the stocks, finally launched on 28th June 1794. Completed for sea on 27th December the same year at a total cost of £58,483, including fitting, she was measured at 2,024 tons and was 182 feet in length with a 50 foot beam. Mounted with 98-guns of varying calibre, including a massive broadside of 28-32pounders, she was first commissioned under Captain John Bazely and put to sea early in 1795 with a full crew of 750 officers and men, boys and marines.

    Such a splendid addition to the fleet meant that she had a particularly active service career and was first in action as Admiral Henry Harvey's flagship during [Admiral] Lord Bridport's bold action against a French fleet off the Île de Groix, Brittany, on 23rd June 1795. Sent to the West Indies, she took part in the operations to capture Trinidad in February 1797 whilst two years later, she was in eastern waters where she assisted at the capture of Surinam in August 1799. After coming home for a major refit in 1800, she became flagship to Sir Robert Calder in the Channel and was still occupying that role at Calder's indecisive action with the French fleet off Cape Finisterre on 22nd July 1805 for which the Admiral was subsequently court-martialled. Maintaining her position as flagship to various senior officers, she flew Lord Gambia's flag on the expedition to Copenhagen in 1807 which culminated with Gambia taking the surrender of the entire Danish fleet. Laid up from 1808-11, she was then sent to the Mediterranean from where she returned to Portsmouth in July 1814 as the French Wars drew to a close. Once peace came the next year, she was no longer needed for sea service and remained in reserve until broken up at Portsmouth in 1822.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Baron Dietrich du Val Duchess.
    King Leopold III of Belgium.
    Salon Stephani, Brussels.
    Mr Norman Mercer.
    Reliance Group Holdings, Inc. and thence to present owner.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the flags have been replaced, and under endoscopic examination the spring mechanism for the retractable guns is original. During this examination, some bone parts have been removed from the inside of the model, as well as fragments of a period note and fragments from an early 19th century newspaper, both with names which have as yet to be researched.


    Literature

    Alexandre Berqueman, L'Art et la Mer, Brussels, 1942.