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In my travels across the internet I came across, what prima facie appears to be a wonderful addition to Model Ship World Library in the form of a beautifully designed book on the bone ships produced by prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars.

 

The author Manfred Stein appears to have brought together under one cover a comprehensive examination of how the prisoners did it coupled with numerous coloured illustrations.

 

We speak of scratch building as the dark arts, this to me is the pinnacle of the dark arts. How the prisoners managed to produce these beautiful models in the conditions they were under and the tools they had available is beyond my comprehension. No Byrnes Tools for them. I am looking at chicken legs in a new light!

 

Anyhow, one for the Christmas stocking. I just scattered half a dozen copies of the site around the house for the Admiral to find.

 

The site is www.koehler-books.de

 

And apparently it is in English.

 

Cheers

 

 

Alan

Edited by Matrim
title in caps

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Yes, it is in English, Alan. Looks good, but is 128 Euros before postage!

 

Stein, Manfred 2014. PRISONER OF WAR BONE SHIP MODELS - Treasures from the age of the Napoleonic Wars, Hamburg, Koehler, 2014.

ISBN 978-3-7822-1205-2.

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If anyone gets it, please let us know if that huge and well-done POW bone model of the US Frigate Chesapeake that is in the Hamburg Maritime Museum is featured prominently. I'm hoping that since the book is published in Hamburg, it may well be. A careful study of her deck details would be of great value to us 1812-ers.

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If you get the Nautical Research Journal, the Autumn 2013 Vol. 58. No. 3 back cover has a detailed picture of the bow of a "Napoleonic prisoner-of-war model of a 74 gun ship-of-the-line, French/English, circa 1790.  It is from Bonhams.com/maritime auction.  This ship went for $22,500.

Here is another one: ***//bonhams.com/departments/COL-MAR/

Pretty cool.

Marc

Edited by Marcus Botanicus

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The book is available in English from Amazon Germany and another German site. The author Manfred Stein is German.

***//www.amazon.de/Prisoner-War-Models-Treasures-Napoleonic/dp/3782212053

***//www.koehler-mittler-shop.de/Neuerscheinungen-Koehler---Mittler/Stein--Manfred--Prisoner-of-War---Bone-Ship-Models--Treasures-from-the-age-of-Napoleonic-Wars.html

 

Then there is this German site that has many reference in English.

***//www.pow-boneships.de/

 

I went to many sites and there a lot of bone models available. It is not really a rare item, except the price. $25K to infinity.

Marc

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There is a chapter in the book on the huge and well-done POW bone model of the US Frigate Chesapeake (144 cm long). 34 detailed photos show e.g. In the long-boat the oars, a hitcher, a scoop and the scuttlebutt. You will enjoy it.

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Thanks 74_boni.

 

I had always thought that the models were made by French or British Prisoners of War. Had never given any consideration that they might have also been made by American prisoners. Is this a correct assumption?

 

Does Stein give the provenance to this model?

 

What are your overall impressions of the book?

 

 

Alan

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Alan and uss frolick,

 

According to the literature, the model was built by American prisoners who were confined in English prisons around 1814. They bestowed the model to the widow of Captain Lawrence. The large scale of the ship model offers scope for the abundant details which the builder bequeathed for posterity. This model is the only one in the Peter Tamm bone ship collection made from whale bone. At the head of the ship model we can see the “seats of ease” on starboard and portside.

 

According to my knowledge, the book is the first which deals with the issue "POW Bone Ship Models" in such a detailed way. The photos are all high resolution (ca. 80 MB), and the printing, layout, etc.produced a very precious book.  

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Thanks!

 

What makes this model important, is that while the British took the lines off of the Chesapeake, they didn't bother to record the inboard profile or deck details. (Although there is a deck framing plan in the Fox Papers at the Peabody Museum in Salem.)

 

How did they get that huge model home undamaged from England, back to America, then how did it end up in Hamburg, Germany?

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I don't know how they brought the model from England to America in the early-1800s. Nor do I know how the model came back to England, London where it was bought by Peter Tamm in the 1970s. The model which was in a very bad shape at that time, was brought to Hamburg, and years later it was restored by a restorer.

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Agree with you USS frolick. Heck of a story if correct. 

 

As I understand it, Peter Tamm's collection forms the backbone of the Hamburg Maritime Museum's model collection.

 

Hopefully, with the release of Stein's book in Jan 2015,  it will contain the story and pics of the Bonhomme Richard POW model.

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There is no Bonhomme Richard POW model in the collection of the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg (Peter Tamm collection). I wonder where this POW BONE MODEL is located. During my own research, I did not come across the Bonhomme Richard as BONE SHIP MODEL.

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Good point Mark. The mystery deepens. 

 

Thanks 74_Boni for clarifying Bonhomme Richard status.

 

Given that  Commodore Jones and his squadron had some "500 British prisoners" while in Trexel, one wonders whether they may have been co-opted to build models, in part, to keep them occupied? Equally, they may have been made by the American sailors during that same internment period? The Chesapeake and Bonhomme Richard being two products from this time? 

 

This is pure speculation from one located in Australia but I am now intrigued by this story.

 

 

 

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“Chesapeake was seized by HMS Shannon in June 1813. Captain Lawrence was killed in the engagement. The ship was brought to Halifax, Nova Scotia, repaired and later integrated into the Royal Navy. The American sailors were brought to England and were confined on English hulks or in prisons like Dartmoor, like their fellow countryman Benjamin Waterhouse.Waterhouse writes in his “Journal of a young man of Massachusetts”: “Some of our countrymen worked very neatly in bone, out of which material they built ships, …” He may have known the builder of our Chesapeake. According to the literature, the model was built by American prisoners who were confined in English prisons around 1814.

When the French prisoners of war left Dartmoor in July 1815, a great deal of equipment was taken over by the Americans. Benjamin Palmer noted in his diary that on February 1st 1815 his fellow convicts in Dartmoor were building model bone ships. Perhaps the builders of the Chesapeake  were among the prisoners of war in Dartmoor.”

With these historic facts – based upon published literature – I should like to come back to the discussion on “The Chesapeake and Bonhomme Richard being two products from this time? There is no doubt that American prisoners in Dartmoor built bone ship models. I have, however, never heard that British prisoners had produced any bone ship models while in captivity.

So, as Alan indicates, the bone ship model Bonhomme Richard is pure speculation.

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Meanwhile, I was told by Koehler Publishing that the book "Stein, Manfred 2015. PRISONER OF WAR BONE SHIP MODELS - Treasures from the age of the Napoleonic Wars, Hamburg, Koehler, 2015. ISBN 978-3-7822-1205-2 will be printed in 2015.

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For further information see:

Lloyd, Clive L.; A History of Napoleonic and American Prisoners of War 1756-1816 Hulk Depot and Parole; Antique Collectors Club, 2007; iSBN 978-1-85149-528-3

Lloyd, Clive L.;The Arts and Crafts of Napoleonic and American Prisoners of War 1756-1816; Antique Collectors Club, 2007; ISBN 978-1-85149-529-0

The volumes include the POW camps as well as the hulks.

The second volume has photographs of all the crafts which were made and sold at the markets. Two superb volumes.

 

Also

Campbell, Charles; The Intolerable Hulks British Shipboard Confinement 1776-1857; Fenestra Books; Tuscon; 2001 (3rd Ed) pbk; ISBN 1-58736-068-3

Mainly about convicts and transportation - Australian connection.

 

Regards,

Bob.

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Clive Lloyd was a phantastic collector of all which had to do with POWs in UK during Napoleonic times. The two books are great. Unfortunately, his collection was sold (at least in parts). So, there are two POW Ship Models in the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg, Collection Peter Tamm, one is a bone ship model, the other one is made from wood.

 

I visited recently the Peterborough/UK museum. They have re-done the Norman Cross department. This is so excellently done - especially attractive for children - that you even see 1 to 1 scale wooden prisoner barracks from Norman Cross POW-Depot. I recommend a visit. 

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