Model. 24 inches Case Height 21½ inches Width 29 inches Depth 10 ¾ inches
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A Napoleonic era bone prisoner of war model of the 40-gun frigate ‘Creolian’, the three masted barque with a planked hull, finely detailed with a carved poop deck and a female figurehead, intricate black thread rigging and a black plaque stating in gilt, Creolian. In the original glazed wooden case with a painted background of a sunset over a bay with ships on the horizon. French, circa 1800.
Provenance Ivan Roll Amis, d. 1 July 1970
Richard Henry Allen Amis, CBE, thence by descent
During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815), large numbers of French soldiers and marines were taken prisoner. To help pass the time and generate a small income, they would make a variety of objects—including ship models—from simple, easily-sourced materials such as bone and wood for sale at local markets. Typically, the models were not made to scale and tools were limited, making the quality and attention to detail in this work even more remarkable. To realise a good price at market, the models were often named after famous ships of the time. It may well be that this ship was the ‘Créole’, a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy. She served in the Brest squadron, took part in Ganteaume’s expeditions of 1801 to Egypt, and was involved in the French acquisition of Santo Domingo (also known as the Era de Francia) and briefly detained Toussaint Louverture (a prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution).
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A Napoleonic era bone prisoner of war model of the 40-gun frigate ‘Creolian’