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Victory's pink(ish) paint scheme and an update

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Hi all,


As many will know, they are now using the pink scheme on HMS Victory which made me wonder if all the ships connected to Nelson or the fleet at Trafalger were of the same scheme.


I decided to write to the restoration boss at Victory to pose the question and below is his reply which makes for interesting reading, especially if anyone has it in their mind to do a repaint of any model they have. I am hoping to try HMS Agamemnon at some point and am looking into the pink scheme for her, even though as you caan see from the mail, they have no information as such.








Thanks for the email.


Unfortunately, there appears to have been fairly wide discrepancy across the fleet for how colours were mixed. Below is a table that gives details of the data I have for ships, aside from Victory, in the run up to Trafalgar.





Stores Consumed

Ratio Yellow:White



Sundry work of the ship and boats

Paint, yellow, 80lbs




Painting new work and mending ship’s sides and sundry parts

Yellow, 70lbs, white, 50lbs




Painting the ship’s head and stern, quarter deck, poop and freshening the sides, painting the launch, fire buckets &c.

Paint, white, 80lbs, yellow 96lbs




Painting the boats and freshening the paint on the stern

Paint, white, 50lbs; yellow, 100lbs




To painting the ship’s topsides

Paint, white, 44lbs; yellow, 130lbs.




Repairing the paint on the ship’s sides

Paint, white 88lbs, yellow, 92lbs




Painting the ship’s sides and weatherworks, and refreshing the paint in other places

Yellow, 200lbs



From the above table, it can be seen that the British ships at Trafalgar had sides painted with paint that was either pure yellow (Prince, Temeraire), used a mix of two or three parts yellow to one part white (Ajax and Revenge prior to the battle) or used a mixture that was (or was close to) equal parts yellow:white (Mars, Thunderer)


Unfortunately, I have not come acrioss any evidence for the specific manner in which HMS Agamemnon was painted.


I hope the above is of some interest, and apologise for being unable to offer greater assistance.


Kind regards,



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  • 5 weeks later...


Pink? Huh? Do you have any more information on this - a pic? This news must either be a cynical and late April's Fool's joke - or, the UK is sailing off the edge of the world, post-Brexit.


I'm visiting the UK in a couple weeks and I'd love to take photos of a pink Vic in Portsmouth for my model club! I wasn't planning on going there, but confirmation of this could change my plans! I'd love to make the cover of my club's September Newsletter issue a photo of a pink-hued icon.


Thanks for the additional info (from the restoration boss); it's clear that the principal decorative colors of the period were a creamy yellowish color. The particular hue of "yellow" was in fact, closer to what we'd today call, "ochre" -  a pale yellowish color. Ochre was the substance that was used to make the paint (whether used by painters of bulwarks or artist Turner). Today's (bright) yellow is made from chemicals that are substantively different and considerably higher in gamma (spectral content intensity).




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An update, Mates.


See photos here, from Victory web site (in Portsmouth). Indeed, the new color for the Victory is a weird hue of "pink." Actually, it's more a Caucasian flesh tone, or is even described by early visitors as " smoked trout!" I think it looks very "beige." Apparently, the perception of the color depends on the weather; if the sun is shining it's very fleshy looking and when overcast, it looks like Norwegian Gravlax! There is even an online question on the site asking for an opinion of the new color. 56% don't like it. I've voted similarly.


This quote also: "Andrew Baines, the head of historic ships at the museum, said: "We are calling it Victory Hull Ochre. It varies in different light, but I believe it is close to a pale terracotta colour."


According to the latest findings of marine archaeologists, this new color is more accurate to what Admiral Nelson's ship looked like. I'm not convinced it's wholly accurate.


Pale terra cotta? Smoked trout? Norwegian Gravlax?


Let's have our own online vote, eh? Comments?




PS I'll be at the museum later this JuneHMS_Victory_Before_3461711b.jpg.42b0c009b7397e05d639c065574a2673.jpg and I'll get a first-hand impression (and bring back some original pics for my Model Club's Newsletter).




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