80 gun ship flying a Rusian Ensign, c 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This model was made by prisoners-of-war. French prisoners-of-war captured during the Napoleonic Wars were held at various prisons around Britain, including Dartmoor, Porchester Castle and Norman Cros. They began to produce ship models, some made from wood, others, such as this example, from bone, to sell in order to supplement their meagre pay. As the prisoners did not have scale drawings to work from, their models can only be regarded as representative. The names inscribed on them cannot be asumed to be accurate, as they were often chosen to facilitate the sale of the models. This particular example represents a vesel of the same clas as the 'Canopus', captured by Nelson at the Battle of Aboukir Bay in 1798.