H.M.S. Hibernia (Roman name for Ireland) launched Plymouth Dockyard in 1804 typified the British Royal Navy’s Ship-of-the-Line. These very large three-deck vessels ranged in hull size from 186’ (HMS Victory) to that of Hibernia’s 201’ at 2,530 tons. These were very impressive ships, and would be employed in the ‘line-of-battle’ when confronting an enemy fleet. Due to their size they were cumbersome and if matched against a smaller 74-gun ship in moderate sea they had to close off their lower gun deck making them vulnerable against a more maneuverable vessel. Hibernia as with other First-rate ships lived a long life due to extensive care. Between 1807 and 1808, Hibernia, under the command of Sir William Sidney Smith, led the British scout of the Portuguese Royal Family during the Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil. She was flagship of the British Mediterranean Fleet from 1816 until 1855. Hibernia ended her days as the base Flag ship at Grand Harbour, Malta until 1902 when it was sold. *Her original figurehead is on display at the maritime museum in Malta.
A finely crafted full hull model showing 110-guns, built from hollowed-out boxwood with an interior gun deck of planked bone or ivory. The bottom of the hull has individual copper sheathing plates, natural boxwood planked topsides, baleen gunport thick wale and strakes, gunport lids with red interior, natural decking and masts, black spars and upper masts of bone (ivory). This miniature model has retractable cannons on its main gun decks. The model has interesting stern polychrome decorative work showing classical warriors and a lion’s head detail. The name lettering is actual stitched thread-work over a coil of wire and the name is spelled
HYBERNIA. At the bow is a polychrome classical warrior figurehead with a light green tunic and red flowing cape. It is fully rigged per naval practice of the era with bone blocks and natural linen thread. There are two carved and painted ship's boats of wood hanging from its rigging as though being hauled out-board. The original marquetry baseboard shows beautiful inlaid motifs of hearts and geometric patterns all in keeping with style of POW craftsmanship. Custom fitted display case with the baseboard and glazed cover trim in matching rosewood, baseboard has a black leather top, with hand engraved sterling silver plaques.
Condition: Very Good
Provenance: Ruth & Turner, London, Parke Bernet (Sotheby’s), NY 1941, private collection, Michigan