Category Archives: Sailing ships

Ship decorations at the Paris Musée de la Marine

Charlemagne, from the Real de France

The head of Charlemagne, from the ship Réal de France, built in 1694. He
makes a noble, striking figure at something like 5 feet tall, and it’s difficult
to believe he’s over 300 years old

La Reale de France stern La Réale de France fighting figures La Réale de France naval officer

La Réale de France stern, fighting figures, and a naval officer

Amphitrite figurehead from the Amphitrie, 1810 Figurehead of Brennus, from a cuirassée of the same name 1899

Figureheads. Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, from the French ship Amphitrie built
in 1810 – she should have been a mermaid!. Gaul leader Brennus from 1899

Figurehead of Napoleon from the Iéna, 1846 Figurehead of Napoleon from the Iéna, 1846

Figurehead of Napoleon from the Iéna, 1846

More photos from the Musée de la Marine in Paris.

The pomp and circumstance surrounding fighting ships of the past is astonishing to behold. They’re ornaments as well as instruments of war – and what ornaments! What these shots don’t really show is the scale of these carvings – Napoleon, for example was massive – the distance from his waist to the top of his head must have been six feet or so.

It’s striking to us Brits that the disgraced autocratic ruler Napoleon should be so honoured decades after his death. Someday I must learn something about the mysteries of history of France!

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Good news from the Cutty Sark restoration

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Cutty Sark counter being lifted

The delicate wrought iron stern of the Cutty Sark was successfully raised
last week to allow work on the ship’s structure below to proceed

The Cutty Sark Conservation people kindly sent me this update a few days ago. As you’ll see, it slightly predates the successful lift of the stern section pictured above.

Like most people who have lived in London, I’ve very fond of the Cutty Sark, and I find the news very heartening!

There will be a major step forward in the Cutty Sark Conservation project tomorrow when the counter, a large part of the stern, located at the back of the ship, is removed for electrolysis and repair.

The removal of this delicate and large wrought iron structure counter was part of the original conservation plan which was in place before the fire broke out last May and its removal marks a major step forward in the project which aims to be completed by Spring 2010.

The Cutty Sark Conservation project is firmly back on track following a generous £10m grant from Heritage Lottery Fund received in January this year.

The conservation project will not only to secure the physical fabric of the ship but also to ensure that she is re-displayed in an appropriate manner for the 21st century. When the project is completed Continue reading Good news from the Cutty Sark restoration

An update from Will Stirling of Cutters & Luggers down in Cornwall

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An update from Smuggling Luggers & Revenue Cutters An update from Smuggling Luggers & Revenue Cutters An update from Smuggling Luggers & Revenue Cutters

The Duke of Bedford’s boathouse (note the blocks in the foreground), a rebuilt
Tamar Valley salmon skiff, a skylight from the Garlandstone, and
Garlandstone, the WWII Naval pinnace and
Alert, all mentioned below

We’ve also received these splendid photos and an update from Will Stirling of Revenue Cutters & Smuggling Luggers. I’m sure many readers will remember his knockout 18th-century inspired design and build project Alert last year (see previous posts) and will be interested to know what he’s been up to in the first half of 2008. In fact, he seems to have a tremendous lot of work going on!

Connoisseurs will notice some good sheds here too…

Dear Gavin,

‘I’m spending a lot of time banging in nails!

‘We have a 150 ton West Country trading ketch Garlandstone on the slipway and are beginning a programme of further restoration after she suffered a period of neglect.

‘The upper works of a 40’ Admiralty pinnace built in Scapa Flow, Orkney during World War II are in the process of being entirely replaced. This has included redefining her sheer as it had been pushed out of shape after many years landing on the beach.

‘We have just completed a completed rebuild from a new backbone up of a Tamar Valley Salmon Skiff. An original member left in the boat has the rope marks where the net led over the side.

‘We have also restored the Duke of Bedford’s boathouse for the Tamar Valley Trust and extensively repaired a neglected cornish punt.

‘We have an MOD contract from the flagship of the Royal Navy, HMS Victory, to build a new 26ft ship’s cutter to a draught from the National Maritime Museum to an 1805 specification form D. Steele’s ‘Naval Architecture’.

‘Cornish Master Shipwright Ted Luck is now helping me and lending much valuable experience to the operation.

‘I received an MA in Maritime History from Exeter University and a distinction for my thesis ‘What Factors influenced the design and construction of Revenue Cutters between 1770 and 1850?’

‘Four photos attached and I will send more when I take them,

‘Best Wishes

‘Will Stirling’

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but Will’s report has left me breathless!

See much more at Will’s website: Revenue Cutters and Smuggling Luggers