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Name plates on 18th century ships?

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The Caldercraft Cutter Sheroune kit comes with some hideous brass letters to mount in the stern.

I have tried to find any reference on how it would have looked on a English cutter from that period, but have failed to find any.

From paintings it looks as if the ships only had decorations in various forms - but no name.

Is there any "proof" that small ships like Sherbourne actually did have a name displayed?
//Mikael

Yacht_and_revenue_cutter.thumb.jpg.d95fedc46ecdf199fae557cab389ab85.jpg

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Well the contemporary NMM model of the cutter Hawke had it's name on the stern.

I would be happy to put a name on the stern of Sherbourne, but not those supplied letters. They supplied the same with the Pickle kit which I  didn't use.

I prefer dry transfer lettering which looks far more authentic.

 

B.E.

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Posted (edited)

Names, when in fashion, were painted on English ships; they did not use raised letters at all. This is a kit-makers' way of making a model look more appealing!

Edited by druxey

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Druxey, very interesting comment.  Any sources and/or dates that you know of on when names being painted (on the stern) came into (and/or went out of) fashion.  I stopped using raising lettering in wood letters many years ago as I learned (I think from you) that this was not done, at least on English vessels, but did not know there was a period when no names would have been painted.

 

Thanks!

 

Allan

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I would need to look this up to confirm it, but think that the Admiralty order was to paint the name on the counter in letters 12" high in 1781, and a year later modified to be 'as large as possible'.

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Good Evening Allan;

 

Druxey is almost correct. I think it was 1771, not 1781 when it commenced. I don't have the warrant when names were first mandated, but this is the wording of the warrant issued by the Navy Board in 1772, changing the rules:

 

9th September 1772

 

Notwithstanding our Warrant of 28th June 1771 These are to direct and require you to paint the Name of the Ships at your Port in Letters as large as the second Counter will admit, as they come in course of painting without any compartments [painted border] round them

 

Dated the 9th September 1772

 

To the respective Officers of all the Yards.

 

 

This practice lasted for about 10 years, after which it was discontinued, as it was felt that this could give important information to an enemy. 1781-2 is probably when it was ordered to stop.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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So, no names would be appropriate before 1771 or after 1781.  Guess the best way to identify a model of a British warship that we build from before and after those dates is a nice plaque on the display stand to keep things accurate.     Thanks to both of you for the information, a new one for a lot of us I suspect.

Allan

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Allan & Mic-art;

 

One caveat:

 

As-built draughts well into the 1780s show the ships with their names displayed on their stern. A lot of marine artists show the names also. It is possible that the Navy Board's directive to cease the practice was somewhat ignored, which would not be too unusual 

Edited by Mark P

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2 hours ago, Mark P said:

This practice lasted for about 10 years, after which it was discontinued, as it was felt that this could give important information to an enemy. 1781-2 is probably when it was ordered to stop.

 

Mark - I'm curious where this came from, any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Even modern warships have name plaques and clearly identifiable pennant numbers, and this in an era of hyper security consciousness when this would be of more use.  Names seem to be so much a part of the ship visual in this era it seems odd that it was only in existence for a period of 10 years or so...probably perpetuated by Victory still having her name on her

 

 

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I suspect that this was first done unofficially, then formally adopted. The requirement to remove names was a Napoleonic wartime measure. An 1854 photograph of the Duke of Wellington shows no sign of a name on her stern. See:

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:H.M.S._Duke_of_Wellington_at_Keyham,_England_in_1854_by_Capt._Linnaeus_Tripe.jpg

 

Probably Victory should not have her name across the stern unless she were restored to her post 1770, pre-1790's condition. I guess it's a nod to tradition....

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Good Evening Jason;

 

I'm afraid that I have not seen the Navy Board warrant ordering that the painting of names should cease, so the only reason I can give is as above, which I read somewhere in connection with this. 17th century ships did not have their names painted on them, nor their models, but they certainly appeared during the 18th century. As Druxey says, the Navy Board order that names should be painted on sterns was probably an official recognition of an established but unofficial practice. 

 

Thanks for the picture Druxey: that must have been a massive driver sail she carried. I wouldn't want to sew that by hand!

 

All the best,

 

Mark 

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I wonder whether or how often in wartime ships may have temporarily carried a painted name of another vessel in order to confuse the enemy. Spies would certainly be gathering information on the comings and goings of various vessels and especially their captains and the admirals. Some might be readily identifiable, but scrambling the names could be a pretty good ruse. On the other hand, I may have been reading too much Patrick O'Brien! :D

 

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Bob,

Somewhere, I read that one of the American ships of the period did this.  I don't remember which one.

 

As for French ships... a whole other situation.  

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Posted (edited)

You can do as I did, use the brass letters in the kit (or buy smaller) and use these as templates and paint the name instead.

Edited by Jörgen

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