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Hubac's Historian

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  1. Hello, Model Ship World! My name is Marc and I hail from NYC. While I am new to the site, I am not a novice to the hobby. Owing to the early growth of my two children, and the development of my career in woodworking, it has been some time since I built a ship model. About sixteen years, in fact! Most of my hobby time, in the evenings, has been devoted to a series of woodworking and furniture projects, which fall under the umbrella of something I refer to as the Heirloom Furniture Project - a legacy project for my kids to inherit sometime far down the road, I hope! Despite my interest in that, and my role as an active and involved Dad, I never stopped reading and acquiring books about my particular interest in ships and ship modeling: the 17th C. ship-of-the-line, and particularly French naval architecture of that period. My recent discovery of Pinterest has really accelerated my understanding of the unique design differences in the stern architecture of the French first and second rates. For anyone who's curious, my Pinterest page titled French Vaisseaus can be found under my member name Tafferal. The imagery I have been able to compile, there, has made it possible for me to begin designing a build that I have long been grappling with. Here's the link: https://www.pinterest.com/tafferal/french-vaisseaus/ This will not be a fully-framed scratch build, but rather an extensive modification of Heller's Soleil Royal. I plan to test out my "Theory of the Ship," in plastic, so that I might re-create the ship, in wood, with all the scratch-built bells and whistles, when I eventually retire. This will be my second build of the Heller kit. The first was begun at the age of eight; very cautiously, I proceeded to the main deck level where I stopped the build, understandably, until I had developed enough skill to competently complete the upper works. As a teenager, I completed everything up to the masting and rigging. After college, I finally finished the model and had a very nice case made to house it. I have been transporting it from apartment to apartment for the past twenty years. It is, in my opinion, a very carefully fit and assembled model (no injection marks, gaps or flash lines) that is impeccably painted. It is not, however, a realistic depiction of the ship, or of a sailing ship, in general. That notwithstanding, I, like many others before me have become completely captivated by the conjectural splendor of what the actual vessel must have been like. The short-comings of the Heller kit have been thoroughly documented on a number of forums. I'm assuming that most who come to read this thread are already well acquainted with the inherent omissions and short-comings of the plastic kit. Unlike so many others, though, I believe that there lies within the kit, great potential to build an accurate scale model of a French first-rate ship from the 1660s. Now, it bears mentioning that I have read the forum moderator's post on overly ambitious build threads, and I can certainly appreciate and agree with the thinking, there. This is going to be an ambitious build! I expect it to go on for quite a number of years. This is not, however, a passing fancy. I am a devotee of incremental progress: whatever little can be accomplished, most evenings of the week, gradually adds up to a thing taking shape. My main obstacle, until now, had been the difficulty in fully visualizing what I believe the original intent of Jean Berain's well known drafts of the SR's stern and quarter galleries to be. I will expound on my theory of the ship in a moment, however, I'd like to say a word or two about why this project has legs for me. The kit I am using for this build is one of the early pressings from the 70's, by Heller. It, initially, belonged to my next door neighbor who was a kind of mentor to me when I was young. Mark Hansen was an outstanding modeler of all kinds of military craft, but he especially loved the sailing ships. He gave me a pretty solid foundation on what was and was not appropriate to incorporate on a sailing ship model. It was his SR that I first spied on the top shelf of his hobby room. I was instantly captivated, and from that point forward perennially obsessed with this single vessel, in a way that I still don't fully comprehend. Mark helped me build my first SR. He intended to tackle the kit in his retirement, but he never made it. Cancer took him in his late 50s. I have never known a person to be more generous with his time, and his memory remains dear. I'm dedicating this build to him, as it is quite possible I would never have found fulfillment in the trades, if not for his influence. MY THEORY OF THE SHIP Soleil Royal's keel was laid down at Brest shipyards in 1666, as part of Minister to the Navy, Colbert's, aggressive reconstruction and restructuring of Louis XIV's navy. She was launched in 1668, and completed a year later in 1669. Her length on deck is listed as 164.5 antiquated French pieds, with a breadth of 44.5 FP. Using a conversion factor of 1.066, this translates to 175 modern, English feet by 47' 5" in breadth, at the main beam. She displaced 2,400 tons, and her draft measured 23.5 FP, or 25 EF. As a side note, I must mention that I am in the process of establishing a point person at the Musee de la Marine, so that I might ask specific questions about my source material. So far, I have not received any reply to my inquiries. For the moment, though, I'm assuming that these L.O.D. dimensions I am giving are, indeed, the L.O.D., and not some other specific measurement. This will, for the sake of scholarship and my future build in wood, be clarified. However, for the purpose of this build, it doesn't really matter; the kit hull halves are what they are, and in fact, the kit L.O.D. pretty exactly corresponds with 175 EF. In the end, though, the requirements of this particular build will necessitate a certain degree of fudgery to create the impression I am after. There will be small additions and subtractions - all to be explained in the next few posts. Her designer and builder was Laurent Hubac, and her initial armament is listed as 120 guns. As a shipwright, Monsieur Hubac was noted for building warships that were considerably wider than those of his contemporaries. This owed to his belief that the added width improved the handling characteristics of these large ships. Soleil Royal was, indeed, said to he a good sailing ship. One year earlier, another ship by M. Hubac was launched at Brest, and initially christened Le Royal Duc. With the establishment of the French rating system, in 1671, the ship was re-named La Reyne. Her listed dimensions are as follows: L.O.D., 155 FP, by 42 FP on the main beam. Using the above metric, this translates to a L.O.D. of 165' 3" in English feet and a maximum beam of a hair under 44' 9". She displaced 2,000 tons and her draft is listed as 22' 10" FP, or 24' 4" EF. Her initial armament was listed as 104 guns. The two ships are of a similar size, displacement and rating. However, unlike SR, there exist two highly detailed Van De Velde portraits of La Reyne, showing her from the starboard stern quarter, as well as, the port bow, broadside. It is immediately apparent that the design of La Reyne's stern and quarter galleries is markedly different from SR. Also, as is to be expected, the arrangement of her gunports is significantly different from what is known about SR, and the arrangement of her guns. The value of these Van De Velde portraits, for me, has to do with the wealth of hull detail that is apparent (and glaringly omitted in the Heller, and vis-a-vis, the incomplete Tanneron model upon which it is directly based), as well as the ship's sheer line and presence on the water. In pen and wash, one can see a significantly more stout vessel, in La Reyne, with a notably lower sheer line, as compared to Tanneron's interpretation of Berain's designs for SR. As a side note, there is a Belgian on another site who has outlined his build plans for converting Heller's SR into La Reyne of 1671. What he is proposing is absolutely attainable, as the VDV drawings are remarkably clear, especially when combined with another period drawing of La Reyne's stern that shows the ornament for what it is - if not, remotely, to scale. Like me, this gentleman sees the potential in Heller's kit for a sound scale model, although his build will necessitate re-configuring the armament. As am I, he is still in the research stage, but I will be following his build and posting links, as appropriate. I want to say, from the outset, that the question of SR's armament - whether 120 guns upon launching, or 104 at the time of her demise - is not one that I plan to resolve with this build. I will be using the moulded kit hull halves and upper bulwarks. I will be making extensive modifications to those parts, and completely scratch-building the entire stern and beakhead bulkhead. Heller's kit, like Tanneron's model, is pierced for 110 guns. I suppose I could omit the two lower bow chase ports, but that would only bring me down to 108. Leaving them out would be a largely arbitrary decision without any clear basis in fact. In the end, my ship will carry 110 guns. There are just certain constraints of working with the pre-established port locations of the plastic hull that I am not willing to overcome. This is the first and most glaring. I am recycling what I can of the kit because the essential lines of the hull and tumblehome are fairly representative of period practice, and of course, it is an enormous time saver to avoid the complete scratch-building of a hull. Ultimately, what I am aiming to achieve, is what I believe to be the correct interpretation of Berain's stern and quarter galleries, as well as the decorative frieze of the upper bulwarks. In the course of the build, I will also add correct period detail - correctly scaled - to the hull, head, decks and guns, while completely re-masting and rigging the ship, according to the guidance of Lees and Anderson. A few gunports, give or take, will not detract from the impression of a ship that sits slightly lower in the water, on a notably broader beam, with noticeably lower sheer; in other words, a ship that won't capsize from the recoil of her own broadside. My ship model will bear a resemblance to the Heller kit, but I hope to far exceed it in ornamental magnificence and correct period detail. What I'm going for is essentially this: This is a work from a twentieth century artist, I believe from the 1950's, who must have been similarly infatuated with SR. I believe that he correctly depicts the configuration of SR's stern. Although, I must say that even if it were the case that she were almost completely painted blue above the lower, main wales - I will not be depicting her, as such. More on that later. In future posts, I will outline what exactly my theory of the ship entails, as well as, my supporting documentary evidence. I will then discuss exactly what I intend to do with the Heller kit, in order to bring all of this about, and then I will share with you the drawings that I have been working on, that will serve as the basis of my modification plan. I've been corresponding with Dan Pariser quite a bit lately, and he has prevailed upon me that I would be much better served digitizing my hand-drawn images so that I could more easily develop them in Corel Draw, for example. He is right, and I will. After not hearing from me for such a long time, I have to credit Dan for being so generous with his knowledge and resources. He and Mark Hansen are two of a kind! So, I must first create a scale "field" - as opposed to a line and body plan (not necessary because I'm not framing) - upon which I can layer all of the new detail. There will be some learning there, naturally, but I will share what I've arrived at, so far, in future posts. Thank you all for taking an interest in this thread and I look forward to hearing whatever you might have to say on the subject. I have also read the moderator's post on forum etiquette, when commenting on a thread or post; I am not nearly as brittle as the plastic I will be working with, so please don't labor too much in your replies. Just tell me what's on your mind. All the best, Marc
  2. Got it! Well, it certainly warrants some experimentation on my paint samples. This pastel route may also be the way to achieve the streaky algea look that I want for the thin strip of white stuff, at the waterline.
  3. Well, Druxey, that is a very good question. The actual number I settled on is somewhat arbitrary, but I based my decision to include more, rather than less, on my observation of various Van de Velde drawings, as well as the models of Herbert Tomesan; those models are very close studies of VDV drawings. Then, there are re-constructions, like Batavia, that have four scuppers along the lower deck. I see your point, though, about the weather deck - where it would make more practical sense to have more than less. In fact, the monographie models of Le Saint Philippe, show fewer along the lower deck. Perhaps, on future models, it would be more accurate to show fewer scuppers, here.
  4. I’ve been thinking about dry pastels/powders because I want to simulate the water staining beneath the scuppers, and maybe also run-off from the channels. Do you have any advice here about particular products, application techniques and sealing?
  5. FYI - I’m working right now, and decided to test a crease where the wale joins the hull. There was some accumulation of VDB in that crease, so I pressed hard with a Q-tip, and it didn’t pick up any VDB paint residue. Maybe the Windsor and Newton has more/better driers in it? I don’t know, but it seems to have cured.
  6. Hi Kirill, Yes, I’ve been using Windsor and Newton’s Van Dyke Brown oil paint for artists. This is part of Herbert Tomesan’s weathering protocol, in which he advises to brush it on heavy like shoe-pollish, and then wipe away as much as possible. Really, the paint effectively stains the underlying acrylic, and there is very little paint left on the surface. Now, yes, in the planking seams there will be a heavier accumulation, and this may take relatively longer to cure. But the wiped and burnished (with a coarse chip brush) surface is not at all tacky; you can handle it without leaving prints, etc. When I met Herbert in 2003, he showed me the models he was making for the Texel Roads diorama; his results were astounding. I felt like Gulliver holding these perfectly crafted plastic ship models that looked like real weathered wood. The process is so simple that I was skeptical that it would work, and yet, with very little effort it yields a surface with great depth and character. I think one could create even more depth with a somewhat streaky application of two different but complimentary brown acrylics, before applying the VDB. For my purposes though - SR’s deadworks would have been painted with this ventre-de-biche color - this is perfectly satisfactory. I’m probably overdoing it a little, but I like it. I had thought about using a fixative top coat, but I don’t want to lose the surface sheen that I have achieved. Given enough time, the paint will cure fully on its own. Because I can handle it without any problems, I’m not too concerned about it. In fact, a topcoat before the paint has fully cured might cause other problems. I think that once I have blacked over the wales and the boot-topping, I will brush over them with acrylic dullcoat because the acrylic is a little too shiny for these details. Other than that, though, time is your friend.
  7. Weathering and distress effects coming to life: The scratch pattern is more regular and subtle than my paint samples. These artist’s acrylics, though, are really tricky to work with. I found that you have to water the paint down, and apply multiple thin coats; four complete coats, and another spot coating to get even color saturation. The coarse dry-brushing - after the bulk of the Van Dyke Brown oil paint has been wiped away - leaves a nice patina on the surface that evens out the weathering, IMO.
  8. Well, Dan, with my research errors and oversights - your system has not been completely wrong. She’ll be coming to stay with you soon; move date is 2/21.
  9. Haha, thanks EJ! No, I still have ornamental work to do on the upper bulwarks, which I’m not yet sure how it will be attached; the amortisement of the QGs, the mermaid figures, etc. Those parts can wait, for now. In fact, I messed up a little because I meant to mask a section, on the lower hull, for the lower section of the QG - which I also am not sure how I will make and how it will attach to the hull. No biggie, though; I’m a pro at scraping plastic, at this point.
  10. It has been my style to document every little step forward, and I will not change course now. I primed the shells tonight, and it is quite gratifying to see all the detail and different color plastics coalesce into one thing. The bow and stern extensions have blended-in smoothly. The iron work is prominent enough to notice, but not so much that it’s distracting. Painting is going to be FUN!
  11. I totally agree, EJ! Adding to the confusion, in this case, is that the Monarque portraits show her with a forcastle deck, but it is not armed. But, then, the deck and it’s guns were removed in 1670, immediately after the Candia mission. So at exactly what point in the brief timeframe between launching and revision that these portraits represent - I cannot say.
  12. Stunning carved work, Drazen! Also an excellent tutorial on prep and paint for wood surfaces. Is another purpose of the gesso to sort of smooth any irregularities in the carved surface?
  13. Lovely ship-building you are doing here, Aviaamator!
  14. You, know - I’m a dope! There’s a reason Winfield and Roberts is such a good source - perhaps I should read it a little more closely, from here on out! Especially, the passages I caption in this particular thread!! They explain, just above, that the Monarque’s forecastle was initially intended to be armed, and that it was, in fact, armed. Take away those six forecastle guns, the deck itself, and four more from the quarterdeck - done deal; reduced weight, better balance and navigation. All this time, I’ve been laboring under the certain “knowledge” that ONLY Soleil Royal and Royal Louis were graced with armed forecastle decks - so even though W&R explain it, and my own eyes read the passage [several times, honestly] it did not register. So, mystery solved. Through reading, and the help of my MSW friends. Did I mention I’m a dope? Sometimes, really, it’s embarrassing. And yes, Heinrich, from here on out I will set sail with dry eyes, vision corrected and with a good reading light, as I attempt to resurrect Soleil Royal from the catacombs.
  15. Hubac's Historian

    IMG_8012_1.JPG

    You know, the Reale by Heller really doesn't get its due. The model, and certainly your execution of it, are better and more detailed than most scratch-builds. Truly an impressive accomplishment - congratulations!!
  16. Hi Mark! You know, it’s really confusing to me. The port broadside drawing of the Monarque has the foresail set, which partially covers the view of the forecastle, but it doesn’t seem outrageously high. Added to that fact is that there isn’t any artillery on that deck, and that’s where real weight would come into play. It isn’t as though she was a carrack, and I have no idea how those things remained upright on their keel. The one thing that can be said of the Monarque is that she had an especially high stern; the tafferal of this ship would have been something like 35 feet above the water! And all of that loaded with massive sculptural statuary - albeit “dug from within” to reduce weight, but it would seem more likely that the navigation problems with the Monarque owed more to her stern. The trouble is that I find the Winfield and Roberts book to be a particularly insightful and reliable source, so I have to assume that they know what they’re talking about, even if I do not understand it.
  17. Well, today was a bitter/sweet day. After 37 years together, it was finally time to part ways with SR1. Santa gave me her for Christmas, when I was eight, and I worked on her off and on (mostly off in the teen years) for the next 16 years. And I’ve been moving her around with me from one New York apartment to the next, ever since. However, there can’t be two Soleil Royals at the next (smaller) apartment in Brooklyn, so today SR1 set sail for her new home in Westchester. My childhood buddy, Brian, always liked the model, and always joked that it’d be welcome in his home. So, now it is. Bon voyage, mon ami! Brian will take good care of you. My father reminded me, tonight, that the base and case for this model were made by the man who did all the model case work for the New York Yacht Club (in the roaring 90’s). The case is plexi, but the base is a nice sapele veneered plinth that looks as good today as it did 21 years ago. Although he is long retired, my father had interesting friends in all corners of New York. And now, Heinrich, I would like to say that I have to agree with your assessment that it does seem a “cheese-paring” exercise to essentially re-cycle ornamental allegories in this particular age of excess. And, yet, that does appear to be exactly what the French did with quite a number of the great first rates. Consider that the tafferal tableau for Le Royal Louis 1668, is remarkably similar to the conceptual Louis XIV model of 1693[?]. This is why I think there is plausibility to the theory that some of SR1’s original ornament was preserved and re-incorporated into Etienne Hubac’s re-construction of his father’s great ship. In fact, the French loved Berain’s adaptation of the original LeBrun/Puget allegory so much, that they re-created it almost exactly for SR2, in 1693. The quarter galleries change, and the upper bulwark frieze becomes significantly more restrained, but the ornamental elements have their origin in earlier designs. Moving onto the question of the scuppers. Initially, I had placed my scuppers at the lowest run of the sheer of wales, where structurally, they would intersect with the deck line. I spaced them evenly, on my drawing, without considering the port lids. When the St. Philippe monographie came, this comparison shot brought to my attention the fact that my scuppers were maybe positioned incorrectly, and that there should also be wider scuppers, in line with the pumps: The next picture of the St. Philippe illustrates the scuppers relative projection beyond the wales. Mine project, too, but not quite as much as these. In any case, it seemed counter-productive for there to be any impingement of the lid or impairment to the function of the scuppers As for the Monarque/Royal Louis debate, I’ve read enough source material to feel pretty confident that these were two distinct ships. Consider the synopses of Winfield and Roberts: Peter’s book, Puget et la Marine makes it pretty clear that work was happening on these two ships simultaneously. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to mail the full translation of Part 1. Just P’M me, and I’ll send it along. Chapman, I hope you will find that the Pheonix kit is suitable for your model - that would be an exciting project, indeed! Bon soir, mes amis!
  18. Well, today was a bitter/sweet day. After 37 years together, it was finally time to part ways with SR1. Santa gave me her for Christmas, when I was eight, and I worked on her off and on (mostly off in the teen years) for the next 16 years. And I’ve been moving her around with me from one New York apartment to the next, ever since. However, there can’t be two Soleil Royals at the next (smaller) apartment in Brooklyn, so today SR1 set sail for her new home in Westchester. My childhood buddy, Brian, always liked the model, and always joked that it’d be welcome in his home. So, now it is. Bon voyage, mon ami! Brian will take good care of you. My father reminded me, tonight, that the base and case for this model were made by the man who did all the model case work for the New York Yacht Club (in the roaring 90’s). The case is plexi, but the base is a nice sapele veneered plinth that looks as good today as it did 21 years ago. Although he is long retired, my father had interesting friends in all corners of New York. And now, Heinrich, I would like to say that I have to agree with your assessment that it does seem a “cheese-paring” exercise to essentially re-cycle ornamental allegories in this particular age of excess. And, yet, that does appear to be exactly what the French did with quite a number of the great first rates. Consider that the tafferal tableau for Le Royal Louis 1668, is remarkably similar to the conceptual Louis XIV model of 1693[?]. This is why I think there is plausibility to the theory that some of SR1’s original ornament was preserved and re-incorporated into Etienne Hubac’s re-construction of his father’s great ship. In fact, the French loved Berain’s adaptation of the original LeBrun/Puget allegory so much, that they re-created it almost exactly for SR2, in 1693. The quarter galleries change, and the upper bulwark frieze becomes significantly more restrained, but the ornamental elements have their origin in earlier designs. Moving onto the question of the scuppers. Initially, I had placed my scuppers at the lowest run of the sheer of wales, where structurally, they would intersect with the deck line. I spaced them evenly, on my drawing, without considering the port lids. When the St. Philippe monographie came, this comparison shot brought to my attention the fact that my scuppers were maybe positioned incorrectly, and that there should also be wider scuppers, in line with the pumps: The next picture of the St. Philippe illustrates the scuppers relative projection beyond the wales. Mine project, too, but not quite this far. Anyway, it seemed clearer to me that any projection would still be an impingement to the lid and/or the function of the scuppers: Lastly, with regard to the Monarque/Royal Louis debate - I have read through enough source material to feel confident that these were two distinct ships, each with their own service history. Consider Winfield and Robert’s synopses of the two ships: I would be happy to mail you, or anyone else that is interested, the full translation of Peter’s Puget et la Marine. It is clear, there, that work on both ships is happening simultaneously. Just P’M me and I’ll send it along. Chapman, I’m excited for your model of La Reine, and I hope that you will find the Pheonix kit suitable. Bon soir, mes amis.
  19. Last post for the day. So far, I have had zero success tracking down the two portraits that would help me the most, if I could just get a better image of them. Yesterday, it dawned on me that there may he an APP that could improve digital pixelation, and turns out - THERE IS!! It’s free, and it’s called DPI. Apparently, the maximum resolution you can achieve is 3,000 DPI. So, I decided to plug these two portraits into the app and see what happens. Before at 72 DPI: And after at 3,000: On my phone, these do not look really very different at all. However, I think my phone’s maximum display value is 1080 DPI. My 11-year old MAC, at home, is probably significantly less. Here is SR after 1689 [also a very low res snap]: Here she is at 3000/1080: Maybe just a little better. I wonder what these images would look like on a truly high resolution monitor. If anyone out there has one - please feel free to re-post their screen shots. Enjoy the weekend!
  20. Now, with Victor Brun’s description of the Monarque in mind, let’s consider Pierre Arnoul’s [Intendant General of the Marine Levant] exacting description of the Royal Louis. This description is part of a much more expansive cataloging of the Royal louis, that includes measurements of almost everything, detailed descriptions of the interior, as well as the exterior. This original text exists in the GALLICA archives and is titled “Description du Vaisseau Le Royal Louis.” The title page is inscribed with the date MDCLXXVII: 1677. This text is also the origin of this primitive drawing, which is essentially what Arnoul is describing: Here is the title page: And here is the point at which Arnoul describes the exterior of the ship: Following is my translation. I have made [notes], where applicable in order to clarify differences in ship nomenclature: “The smooth dourdy [lower transom] is enriched outside laurel leaves with shells seashell on it, all of ore has perfection. Over there is a marine horse at each coast [side] and four large consoles that support the first baterie [lower stern balcony], above which there is a very beautiful cul de feu lamp [concealing the rudder head and stern post]. The first gallery, at the height of support is all dotted with fleurs-de-lys d'oreen [in gold], on which are affixed four sirens that serve as a support for the second gallery, and costez [along the side galleries] three tritons and two consoles with a frieze that runs all around, where are the arms of Monseigneur le Duc de Beaufort, supported also by two tritons holding an anchor with one hand; on the starboard side Neptune and Thetys [Tethys] on the left, with a babe at their feet, present[ing] in the divinity of the riches of the earth and the sea, which they then present to the figure of the king, who is in his throne of justice above the third gallery in relief and gold. as well as the whole stern, with a slave of each side and a cornice of gold which reigns all along the ship [sheer rail all in gold?], with trophies joining the said divinities. On each corner, from above, there is a renomee [fame] each holding a trumpet. On the second cornice at the coronation, which has the same effect as the other, are two affixed figures holding in their hands a crown of laurel on the head of the King, of one side, and on the other an olive branch. On the third floor [quarter deck level] there is a balcony, two feet high, where the king's arms are in a medal, on which there are four capitals, or four half-bodied figures, all of them representing the four parts of the world. All portals of ports [gunport lids] are adorned with fleurs-de-lis, figures of the King, lyres, and suns. All between the wales [from the quarter deck level to the sheer railing] there is a frieze in gold which reigns all along the ship, of fleurs-de-lis, also of gold. Between the ports of the second baterie there are trophies of the navy, all of them between lasses of peles [?indescipherable?] and anchors of the same. Those [ports] of the third gundeck are adorned with a frame of foliage with griffins on the sides, all of gold in perfection. At the highest wale [beneath the sheer rail at the poop deck level] there are consoles of space in space, with festoons between two, all in gold. The sides of the vessel with smooth are enriched with fleurs-de-lys golden with molures[?]. The whole mirror, in other words, the guardianship of the vessel is blue in color with golden fleur-de-lis [the stern/tafferal, I suppose]. THE BOW At the bow of the vessel there are two great escolats[?] two half-wives, whose bottom ends in foliage running along the precients. All precients [wales] of the bow are the same, with consoles from below the bows and florets gild space to space. The figurehead is a renowne [fame] holding the king's arms, with a little triton underneath, which has it to wear them, all of which is excellent. The crane carriers [cathead supports] are two big tritons of gold. At the face of the castle of Prou [beakhead bulkhead] there are two children in low relief of gold who carry one a laurel and the other a palm, are an escort or are the arms of the King. The whole bow is adorned, even the herpes [head rails] of fleur-de-lis and the figures of the King of the Golden Crown in perfection.” Here are what I believe to be the stern drawings for the Royal Louis, from Uber Den Wellen... The tableau presented on the tafferal, so far as I can tell, appears identical to the Monarque Here is where it gets interesting. Brun references Cybele, opposite Neptune for the Monarque. However, Arnoul speaks of Tethys, opposite Neptune. In Greek Mythology, Cybele is an earth mother/nature goddess, while Tethys is the sea goddess; daughter of Uranus and Gaea, who was married to her brother Oceanus. Here, on the lower stern balcony, can be found the greatest number of differences. First, the armes of Beaufort are clearly present on the lower stern balcony of the RL, but notably absent on the Monarque. The supporting corbels, beneath this gallery are also notably quite different; on the RL, they are notably less robust, and appear to have shell ornaments on the ceiling of the counter, between them. The other notable difference is the absense of the swagged garland below the stern chase ports, on the Monarque; yet, this detail is clearly observed by arnoul on the Royal Louis. The presence of these sea horses appears to be a common thread among the Monarque, the RL and early SR. Here’s the better of the two Monarque portraits for comparison: So, in summary, I believe that the ornamental scheme for both the Monarque and Royal Louis were so similar as to be nearly identical. This would not be surprising, if the RL’s first ornament were placed upon the Monarque to, perhaps, satisfy Beaufort. The other striking thing, to me though, is how much the exterior description of the RL mirrors the portrait of the Monarque. Nevertheless, his band of heraldic ornaments is something that can be found very clearly on a drawing of Le Dauphin Royal [which, if not the original ornamental scheme, may be a revised proposal for reduced ornament]: The other notable thing is just how much of the RL’s ornament appears to have actually been gilded; perhaps with these earliest flagships of the First Marine, truly no expense was spared! I’m not sure whether that would still be the case in, 1689, but as I have outlined before - I will make more sparing use of gold to highlight the ornaments, themselves, while using yellow ochre for the mouldings. This is all highly debatable, of course, but these are my theories.
  21. It is not clear to me from when this account by Victor Brun dates, but I suppose that it must be from before 1675, when the Monarque’s ornament was reduced. Victor Brun describes the Monarque: ”The King in Roman costume, having slaves at his feet, is on his throne between two Renomees [fames], holding the tunes [carrying trumpets] of his glory, they were the upper terms of the painting; other terms, even richer, represented Neptune and Cybele, paying tribute to Louis XIV: three magnificent galleries, supported by caryatids and tritons kissed the rear, and this beautiful tableau was framed by geniuses [winged angels to either side of the great lantern] which rose up to coronation, on the king’s head, and sea horses that seemed to swim in the sea. The front [bow, presumably] was an allegory representing Vigilance taming the Lion of Spain and Holland.” Mr. Peter notes: ”Masterpiece of naval decoration, the Monarque also represented the almost general model of which we will find simpler, less sumptuous variations, in several other drawings of the artist, among others the I’lle de France, the Scepter, the Royal Therese, the Fool, the Deceiver. Each of these ships shows a surprising wealth of invention, a variety in the choice of the arrangement of ornaments that give Puget’s fecundity the best proof. All of this was accompanied by statues full of fantasy, satyrs, dolphins, characters in time costumes, symbolic animals, trees, mythological figures, monkeys, masks, garlands” (Marcel Brion). Personally, it seems to me that the Monarque was, perhaps, Puget’s masterpiece, and like the suggestion of six ornamental models that represent the totallity of possibilities - the Monarque was maybe the single ship that embodied the largest sampling of his ouvre. That might explain why he was so proud of the ship that he created no fewer than two [and maybe three] highly detailed portraits of her.
  22. Hello, Chapman! That is awesome news about La Reine. Are you doing a complete scratch-build, and will there be a build-log for the project? So, to continue the timeline: July 18, 1669 - Colbert issues instructions to D’Infreville to limit Puget’s influence to a supervisory role in the workshops. September 1669 - Louis Matharel succeeds D’Infreville, and firmly adopts Colbert’s edict that the ornamentation shall be secondary to the ship’s sailing qualities End of May 1670 - Royal Louis ornamentation and painting complete. The implication, here, is that this concludes the second attempt at finishing the Royal Louis, and that the ornamental scheme very closely follows the illustration within the book, Uber Den Wellen Bin Ich Einzigarten - the German language exploration of the Royal Louis’s ornamental scheme. Although, I still think the cover art is Puget’s drawing of the Monarque, enlarged, the stern drawing, within [that is the actual subject of analysis] is amazingly detailed and displays all of the hallmarks of design that are noted in Arnoul’s eye-witness description; Arnoul and pics to follow. And so, for Chapman’s sake, I’d like to offer an apology for seeming too sure about something before I had really looked at it. Heinrich has sent me pictures from the book, and he will, at some point, forward a copy, which I will then read in detail, and “data-mine” as Heinrich puts it. The pictures, alone, though, seem confirmation enough of Arnoul’s description. But, I’m getting ahead of myself... July 10, 1670 - D’Infreville writes to Colbert to inform him of Puget’s proposal to create 5-6 models of sterns, which could then be broadly applied to the new ships being built at Toulon - mixing and matching figures, as dictated by the architecture and idea of the ship. This proposal by Puget signals his increasing dis-interest in the ornamental design of the King’s ships. They have hemmed him in so much, that he no longer aspires to complete creative control. What’s interesting to me, though, is that among the Monarch, the Royal Louis, and the portrait that I believe to be Soleil Royal, there is a certain commonality in the structure and arrangement of the stern balconies and quarters. In all three, there are these marine horse figures supporting the lower stern balcony. And it appears that SR, like the Monarque and RL, also appears to have the split-tailed triton figures supporting the main deck quarter gallery and stern balcony. Maybe I just want it to be so, but it seems plausible, even if the photo is too grainy to reliably read for detail. Throughout Peter’s research, there is not one mention made about Puget’s collaboration or involvement with LeBrun for the design of Soleil Royal. This does not mean, of course, that he wasn’t. If he were, though, it is not discussed, and it seems that he was not really present at Brest, during this timeframe. Perhaps, though, these Puget models actually were created, and they helped inform LeBrun’s ornamental scheme for Soleil Royal. I have no answers, here, only questions. What can be factually ascertained is that the famous Berain drawing of Soleil Royal’s refit stern design is inscribed, across its top, with the following: “Apres Pierre Puget”. I will have to check again, though, to be sure that it doesn’t say “Par Pierre Puget,” which would mean something else. “Apres” would suggest “after,” or “in the style of” Pierre Puget. So, I personally believe Puget influenced LeBrun’s design; however directly, I can not say - yet there do appear to be certain Puget hallmarks that Berain retains into the new design; principal among them, the large full-figure sculptures of The Americas, Europe, the Orient and Africa. Now, to conclude Peter’s timeline: January 16, 1672 - Colbert reminds Matharel that Puget’s drawings must always be submitted, first, to the construction council, before work can proceed. Sept 13, 1672 - Puget completely disengages and the King decrees that sterns will no longer carry figures in full relief. Between 1672 and his dismissal from Toulon in January of 1679, Puget undertakes several large commissions for marble staruary, for the gardens at Versailles. Chief among these works are his figures of Milo, Perseus and Andromede. In the next post, I will give Victor Brun’s eyewitness account of the Monarque. To be continued...
  23. To begin with, let’s go through a timeline of events, per Jean Peter’s research: 1660-1667 - Puget is primarily in Genoa, where he carved the statues of the Blessed Alessandro Sauli, as well as Saint Sebastian for the basilica of Cargnan. July 18, 1667 - Puget issues his 11-demand list of requirements for employment at Toulon, via D’Infreville. January 30, 1668 - Puget (aged 45 years), meets with LeBrun and Girardon in Paris. Subsequently, Colbert agrees to bring Puget to Toulon. According to Mr. Peter - even before Puget’s arrival at Toulon, there was much in-fighting among the 34, or so, sculpters and artists employed by the arsenal. The hope of Colbert and D’Infreville was that Puget’s artistic credibility would lend oversight and organisation to the proceedings at Toulon. June 19, 1668 - Assignment for design of the ornament for Le Dauphin Royal and Le Monarque awaits Puget, upon his recovery from illness in Genoa. July 8, 1668 - Puget arrives in Toulon where he sees the carved work that is underway for the Royal Louis, as designed by LeBrun and Girardon. End of July, 1668 - Puget at work designing ornamental sketches for the I’le de France and Le Paris December 11, 1668 - Girardon completes decoration of the Royal Louis, and is busily making a wax model for the Dauphin Royal. It is not explicitly stated, but implied by Mr. Peter, that this wax model is derived from Puget’s design for the DR. If so, this would be quite remarkable, if Puget were to arrive in Toulon on July 8th, and complete the DR’s ornamental scheme in less than a month, before moving on to the I’le De France and Paris. Perhaps it is more likely, as Tony Devroude notes in his two-part NRG article on the design of the DR, that Girardon was solely, or primarily, responsible for the DR’s ornamentation. Personally, I have not dug deeply enough to have an opinion on that, one way or the other. January 1669 - Workshop painters and guilders complete the finish work to the Royal Louis’s ornament. End of February 1669 - all sculpters are busily carving ornament for the Monarque. Again, it is implied that Puget designed the Monarque’s ornamentation, in addition to both the I’le de France and one of his best known ships, Le Paris - later to be re-named and re-decorated as Le Royal Therese; this is simply an astounding pace of work! End of May 1669 - the Monarque nears completion, and the Duke of Beaufort makes the following observation: “The Monarque has almost all his sculpture in his place and already much gilding, he will not be ashamed of the king, if he had had the leisure, Puget would have done wonders. His entitlement [translation of “entetement” unclear], he deserves to be in Paris like Girardon.” End of June 1669 - Puget returns to Toulon, from Genoa, to discover that Tureau and Rombaud had taken [unclear whether it was some or all] the ornament from the previously completed Royal Louis, and placed it on the Monarque, which had subsequently served as the flagship of the Duke de Beaufort. This caused quite a great deal of conflict between Puget and Tureau/Rombaud. It is this switching out of the Monarque’s ornament, in my opinion, that creates the confusion between the RL and the Monarque. Because of the number and arrangement of the guns in the portraits I have noted to be the Monarque, I believe those portraits really do represent the Monarque, at this earliest stage of her career, under command of Beaufort, and before her forecastle is cut down. Why the presence of her forecastle “hinders navigation,” as noted by others - and must be removed - I can not say. Frankly, that part of the narrative makes no sense to me. Likewise, I will later illustrate that what I truly believe is actually the ornamental sketch for the stern of the Royal Louis, specifically includes the family armes for the Duke de Beaufort. Yet, why those arms do not appear to have also been transferred to the Monarque for service under Beaufort’s command - I can not say. It is clear, though, that they are missing from the lower stern balcony in both Monarque drawings attributed to Puget. Those drawings are sufficiently clear to see both the armes of Louis XIV, and the armes of France, in the two stern balconies above. Perhaps the omission of the Duke de Beaufort’s armes is Puget’s revenge for swapping out his ornamental scheme. Or, perhaps, those drawings of the Monarque were done before the swap, and instead reflect the tremendous similarity between the two ships. I think it is more likely the latter and will show why in my next post. For today, though, I have run out of time. To be continued...

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