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208

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

A French Prisoner-of-War bone and ebony model of a British Man-of-War in its original straw marquetry and glass case early 19th century
JUMP TO LOT
208

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

A French Prisoner-of-War bone and ebony model of a British Man-of-War in its original straw marquetry and glass case early 19th century
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Collections: European Decorative Arts

|
New York

A French Prisoner-of-War bone and ebony model of a British Man-of-War in its original straw marquetry and glass case early 19th century
straw marquetry box opens to reveal a hinged glass door enclosing ship and mirrors to show all sides. Together with an original 1929 auction catalogue.
height of case 14 in.; width 17 in.; depth 8 1/2 in.
35.5 cm; 43 cm; 21.5 cm
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Provenance

Anderson Galleries New York, April 23, 1929, lot 128

Catalogue Note

The Napoleonic Wars changed the history of warfare, in particular through France's refusal to honor the tradition of prisoner swaps, thus vastly increasing the number of prisoners of war. France also imprisoned all English males on French soil, which went against the custom of only arresting active combatants. The British followed suit; thus, there were an estimated 80,000 French prisoners interned in Britain during the war. Left to their own devices, prisoners occupied themselves with the traditional handicrafts of soldiers and sailors, such as carving, whittling, and fancy ropework. This pastime soon turned into a mini economy. France gave their prisoners a small salary, so prisoners used that money to buy supplies from the British officers who then either purchased the carvings from the prisoners or brought in others to buy.

The present Man-of-War is one of the more finely crafted specimens especially since it is in its original straw marquetry box. Straw marquetry was another hobby of the imprisoned, so this ship model demonstrates the creative skills of its maker as well as his ability to barter for some of the best supplies (mirrors, straw, wood, bone, parchment).

Collections: European Decorative Arts

|
New York