Exceptional prisoner-of-war model of the "Royal George", French/English, circa 1790. Outstanding bone model of the HMS ship-of-the-line, "Royal George". The construction is typical of POW models of this period. The model has a planked bone hull over solid core. The straking between the rows of cannon are painted black. At the end of the bow is a carved bone figurehead of a Native American. The figure's arms are pinned which allows them to swing. The quarter galleries are beautifully carved and have black painted embellishment. The stern galleries are elaborately carved and polychromed. There are two tiers of windows separated by a pierced gallery. Below the windows and gallery the name of the ship "ROYAL GEORGE" is painted. Along the port and starboard, there are three rows of cannons as well as a few additional cannons on the raised stern deck. The deck is made of bone and is partially planked. There are several carved bone deck fittings which are polychromed. The spars are accurately turned of bone and the rigging appears original. On the deck, there are six carved and polychromed figures of sailors with top hats. There are two additional carved sailors standing on the main fighting top and another two on the rear fighting top. The model retains its original base. The base is one of the rare and most desirable features of the model. The hull is sitting on blocks of wood resembling the ways (launching tracks for ships) and the hull is propped up on the sides with brass tubing which is resting on the old green felt of the rectangular base. The outer perimeter of the base is trimmed with bone with a carved decorative lower border. Running around the sides of the bone are a pair of red polychrome scribe lines. The model is beautifully constructed and has the additional and rare addition of figures while having a rare and desirable base. (SM-676)
Condition: The model is remarkably original and has only minor repairs to the rigging. The model is displayed in an ebonized glazed case which probably dates to the beginning of the twentieth century.
Provenance: J.D. Crimmons collection Max Williams Sold to Mrs J. Insley Blair May 1918
Note 1: Mrs. J. Inley Blair, along with Henry Francis DuPont, was one of the pioneer collectors in Americana. She was both scholarly and intuitive in her collecting. She was one of the great forces in establishing the American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is a photograph taken November 1927 depicting the model described above in "Museum Room No. 1" in Mrs. Blair's mansion, referred to as Blairhame.
Note 2: The "HMS Royal George" was built in 1756. It was the first vessel to exceed 2000 tons and was commissioned at the start of the Seven Years War with France. In 1782 until its demise, the "Royal George" was stationed in Gibraltar.
Dimensions of model: Length 22 inches; Height 20 inches; Width 8 inches.
Dimensions of case: Length 25 1/8 inches; Height 22 3/8 inches; Width 10 5/8 inches.