I love trawling around Antique Fairs looking for 'treasure', and every so often you come across something TRULY unique. I recently found on a table surrounded by stamp albums and postcards a rather ordinary old shoe box with what at first I thought was a game of battleships. As I delved deeper into the box I discovered that there were literally hundreds of these little paper ships, all hand-drawn, then hand-painted, and meticulously cut out to form 3-dimensional models. I wouldn't be surprised if they were all drawn to scale as well, such is the detail.
Whoever created these models, and I think we can assume it was a man, was obviously a pretty good artist ( a few of the ships have been painted on previously used paper, as above) and he was passionate about the naval fleets of the world. On the back of each drawing is not only the name and country of origin of the ship, but other interesting details such as how many guns, the size, when and where it was built, if it was destroyed in warfare etc.
The mind almost boggles at just how long this collection must have taken to produce.
There are a few galleon type ships but the vast majority are naval gun boats, not just of the British naval fleet of the last century, but also the naval fleets of Russia, Germany, Sweden, USA, Japan, Spain, France.........!!!
'USS New Jersey'. Battleship (2nd line). 14,948 tons. Four 12", eight 8", twelve 6", thirty-six small guns. Speed: 19 knots. Completed 1906.
'Jean Bart'. French battleship. 22,189 tons. Twelve 12", twenty-two 5.5" guns. Four 3" AA guns. Speed: 22 knots. Completed 1913. Served in French Mediterranean fleet 1914-18, and twice torpedoed. Reconstructed and appearance altered, 1928-9.
(Just to give you an idea of scale; the above ship measures 13 cms)
I mulled over in my mind quite what I was going to do with this collection, and how to best present it for sale. And what I came up with was a background of printed sea chart into which I have cut appropriate length slots. Each ship can then be displayed in an upright position by easing it into the slot, but can still be removed to read the information written on the reverse. This way I have not used any glue and preserved them just as they are.
I am presenting them in groups of 5 from whichever national fleet they come from. Here are three British ones. They are on sale in the shop now and I shall also be bringing them to my next fair on the 18th June at Cowdray Park, West Sussex (see side bar).
I hope you have all passed a pleasant bank Holiday and the sun shone for you! xxx