Finely made in pearwood and boxwood with painted decoration, the detailed carving gilded and with brass fittings.
The Collection of William Gordeau
William Blair Ltd., Hammond, Louisiana
The origin of ship models of this form is somewhat obscure, some possibly being made as suggested designs of vessels, others being specific commissions from the owners or captains of actual ships; a commonly held view is that they were made as preliminary designs to be shown to the Navy Board and the King for their approval before the building of the vessel commenced. This is probably the least likely suggestion in that the highly finished nature of surviving contemporary examples, with their finely detailed carving, would not have been necessary at the early stage of their construction of the actual vessel.
The present model depicts His Majesty’s Ship Royal Oak, a 76 gun second rate warship which was launched in 1664. It was the first ship of the Royal Navy to be named after the oak tree at Boscobel House in which the Future King Charles II hid after the battle of Worcester in 1641. The ship was destroyed at Chatham at the battle of Medway during the Anglo-Dutch war in 1667, having been sunk to avoid capture by the Dutch fleet led by Admiral Michiel de Ruyter and then burned by the Dutch forces. Four other warships of the Royal fleet were burned and the Royal Charles was captured and towed to Holland.
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