Plank on frame “scratch built” mahogany ship model of an American whaleship titled on the stern board “JAMES ARNOLD NEW BEDFORD” by the renowned Boston ship model builder Peter Ness circa 1935. All of the materials treatment and materials are consistent with the other know Peter ness models. The hull has plank on frame construction. Each plank is attached to the ribs with tiny brass nails. The figurehead in in the form of a whale man holding a harpoon in a down position as though he is about to harpoon a whale. There is an applied stern board with Gold leaf titles with e vessels name and port. Below and well carved spread wing stern mounted eagle. Mounted on the starboard side is a whaleboat on davits. At the center of the starboard side is the cutting in stage in its working position held by rigging and blocks. Mounted to the sides of the bow on opposite sides are wood and metal anchors. The model has a planked mahogany deck. Mounted in the front is an elaborately constructed anchor windlass. She vessel has three Natural wood mahogany masts with mahogany yard arms. Neat the top of the fore and main mast are the iron lookout circular stations. The main mast retains the original painted white banner with blue stipes with the name in red “JAMES ARNOLD”. The rat lines, standing and running rigging are highly detailed and accurate. There are pin rails featured around each mast and mounted to the deck. Between the first two masts is an elaborate tri work with brick sides, copper top, tryworks pots and chimneys. Behind the tryworks is a pair of hatches and to the left a large round hand driven sharpening stone. Between the rear masts is a raised platform with two whaleboats mounted upside down on the roof. The stern section of the deck has a raised house with a planked top with a rectangular opening providing light for the helmsman and the ships wheel and steering mechanism below. Mounter to the port side are three whaleboats hanging on davits. Each of the whaleboat has a compliment of whaling implements and oars. The model has its original base which features a pair of oak oil casks with raised bands painted black set into chalks with are mounted to a rectangular mahogany base with a molded ebonized border. The case was made by Peter ness as is original to the model.
Condition: Thanks to the case the model has been very well preserved and is in excellent condition with all its original rigging. The original American flag has been replaced due to the deterioration of the cloth over the years.
Dimensions of Model: Height 26, Length 31 ½, Width 8 ¼, Inches
Accompanying the model are a group of documents which are listed below.
1. Newspaper article picturing Pet Ness working on a ship model. The caption reads “Peter ness 20 years a sea skipper, proudly displayed his models of clipper ships in 1929.
2. A List was made of the voyages of Captain Jesse Sherman of the “James Arnold who went on seven whaling voyages between 1860 and 1882. Five of these voyages were on the “James Arnold” and the other two were on different ships.
3. An article published in August 6, 1961 about a young girls letters referring to her time on Board the “James Arnold” with her father Captain Jesse Sherman.
4. Pert Ness’s Obituary titled “Peter ness, 86, master model builder of model ships”. The article states that Peter Ness’s models of Clipper ships, whalers, and war ships are on view at scores of museums around America including the Smithsonian,, the new Bedford Whaling Museum, and ther Boston Science Museum. The Late President Franklin Roosevelt had a ness model on display at his office at the white House.” The article mentions peter ness came to Boston from Norway in 1912 and worked as a baker until he turned his hobby into a fulltime profession. His workshop was in his basement in East Boston. He left two brothers Hans of Norway and Olaf of Dedham (Olaf was also an accomplished model builder).
5. This model of the whale hip James Arnold was lent by a previous owner to an exhibition titled “The Art of Ship Model which was held February 28, 2013- February 28, 2014. The insurance Value was $25,000. The loan agreement along with letters from the registrar of the New Bedford Whaling Museum are included.
6. A letter dated May 17, 1962 indicating that he wanted the model to be placed on his insurance policy while it was with Peter ness the builder while he would clean it and build a case for it. This letter confirms the fact that Peter Ness built the case when he had the model back for cleaning which in
Addtiona Notes: A master craftsman who immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1912, Peter Henrick Ness (1890-1976), constructed ship models from scratch. His rich seafaring family history helped to create a ship’s blueprint in his mind’s eye. From this blueprint Ness was able to apply accuracy to the replicas of ships he built with the use of sight and memory gained from his experience in the European trade. Ness is the endeared dean of ship model making. He fabricated his models in a manner that is reminiscent of exactly how these ships were built. Other craftsman in the art practiced a more general method of model making where the interpretation of the artist would be evident in the end result as well as a noted “fine tuning” of details meant for display or exhibition appeal. “Ness made the models as if they were mini ships. They were heavier and bulkier. If you look at the spars, for instance, they are thick and they taper less at the ends. He represented a ship and its hardware better than anyone”. Ness hand forged his own brass fittings such as the anchors, bells and wheels. He also properly used chain instead of cutting corners with string where a chain, perhaps connected to the anchor for example, might be displayed on a ship. Where the lines are rigged through the dead eyes of the model, Ness properly “served the cords” by wrapping the cords around the ratlines rather than the use of glue and other methods of securing the thread.
Ness specialized in ships built by Boston shipbuilder Donald McKay (1810-1880). McKay built the clipper Sovereign of the Seas which, in 1854, posted the fastest speed ever by a sailing ship - 22 knots. Many of Ness' models are in fixed exhibits inside the Smithsonian, Boston's Museum of Science and a whaler he built was displayed in the White House during the Roosevelt administration.