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An exceptional miniature scale model of the Confederate Blockade Runner C.S.S. Colonel Lamb of 1864
An exceptional miniature scale model of the Confederate Blockade Runner C.S.S. Colonel Lamb of 1864


An exceptional miniature scale model of the Confederate Blockade Runner C.S.S. Colonel Lamb of 1864
Donald McNarry, FRSA (British, B. 1921)
This museum quality model, in diorama format, depicts the C.S.S. Lamb at anchor waiting to load supplies. The model is built up, completely from scratch, and using detailed plans and reference material to build this model in 32':1" scale. The hull of the model is built up from wood and painted with a red bottom and grey topsides. On the hull of the model are port holes at the bow and stern, as well as draft markings at both the bow and stern. The hull has a couple of bands and some faint lines which represent the hull plating. The decks of the model are in veneer which has had very fine lines drawn in to represent the deck planking. The deck of the model has an extraordinary amount of detail, all modeled to scale, which includes: anchor chain, anchor windlass, hawse pipes, sky light, bollards, companion ways, forward hatch which is open (and a glimpse of interior details is evident), coils of line, canvas covered hatches, five ships boats rigged on davits and fully detailed, another boat tied up alongside the gangway, main cabin with doors and windows, ventilators, funnels (painted white), stove pipe, fire buckets, paddle wheels on the port and starboard sides enclosed in wheel houses which are pierced to show the interior top with stepped covers and hand railings, deck plates, binnacle, ship's wheel, among numerous other details. The model is rigged with two masts, standing and running rigging, deadeyes, turning blocks, gaffs, stays, halyards, flag halyards, etc. all modeled to scale. The model flys a name pennant on the aft mast, and the Confederate naval ensign on the flagstaff. Sailing past the C.S.S. Lamb is a small commercial sailing vessel which may be bringing supplies to the Confederate blockade runner.

Both models are set in a carved and painted sea which has been finished with a gloss finish. The model is displayed in a glass and bird's eye maple framed display case.
15½ x 6¾ x 6¾ in. (39.3 x 17.1 x 17.1 cm.) cased dimensions.
Built ca. 1968.

Lot Essay

Donald McNarry was born in London in 1921. Originally, he took up model making as a hobby, and began exhibiting his 100' = 1" models at the Model Engineer Exhibition in 1935, in the junior section. He exhibited at the Model Engineering Exhibit from 1935 - 1953, winning awards consitently throughout this period. Considered "the master" of extreme miniature shipbuilding by his peers, his contributions to the art form has been enormous, and he has been instrumental in raising the overall standards expected from small-scale ship modeling. His original desire was to build miniature ships rather than ship models. McNarry has built approximately 350 models of historical ships covering the period from 700 B.C. to the late 1960s. His styles of presentation include scenic, waterline, full-hull and the traditional Navy Board type. With very few exceptions, they are all to the extreme miniature scales ranging from 100' = 1" to 16' = 1". Donald McNarry has found the time to contribute on a regular basis to Model Shipwright and other journals as well as publishing three books: Ship Building in Miniature, Conway Maritime Press, 1955 & 1982; Ship Models in Miniature, Praeger Publishers, 1975; and Royal Yachts in Miniature, 1996. Mr. McNarry's works are widely collected by both institutions and private collectors, and can be seen by the public in the United States at the Peabody Essex Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Mystic Seaport Museum, The Mariners' Museum and the Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, MD.

We thank R. Michael Wall for the biographical information.

C.S.S. Colonel Lamb, a 1788-ton side-wheel steamer, was built at Liverpool, England, in 1864 for employment running the Federal blockade of the Confederate coast. She successfully ran into the port of Wilmington, North Carolina, in late November 1864 and escaped back to sea the next month. In January 1865, with east coast blockade running at an end, she went to the Gulf of Mexico but was found unsuitable for operation into Galveston, Texas, and returned to England a few months later. Reportedly sold to Greek interests and renamed Bouboulina, she was destroyed in an explosion while loading munitions at Liverpool in 1866 or 1867.

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