Category Archives: Boating, boats, ships and the sea

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!


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

Napoleon’s own rowing boat

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Napoleon\'s famouse canot at he Musee de la Marine, Paris

Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris

Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris Napoleon\'s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris

Views of Napoleon’s famous canot at the Musee de la Marine, Paris.
Truly a boat fit for an emperor!

On entering the Paris Musée de la Marine, the first thing the visitor sees is Napoleon’s wonderful canot – and it hits you right between the eyes. The gilding is fantastic, even down to the fish that adorn each of the oars.

What do you think – does it represent a challenge to amateur boatbuilders?

The canot was apparently built in secret and used by the emperor and his young empress Marie-Louise to inspect his fleet at what the museum authorities are pleased to call the Port of Anvers in 1810 – though the people who live there call it Antwerpen, while anglophones generally use the name Antwerp. I’ll put up a post about a painting of that event in a few days.

Of course there are lots of other things to see and do in Paris, as the Rough Guide to Paris makes clear!

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