Ship Ahoy!


Few things are as evocatively nautical as an old ship in a bottle.

This practise is believed to have started in the 19th Century. As travelling by ship could often be a long and laborious affair, taking months if not years, sailors would find their own form of entertainment. Scraps of bone and teeth from whales would be used on whaling ships or old bits of rope, thread and wood, anything they could find to build their intricate works.

It’s not just the intrecacies of the boats, but also the scene in which they are set that are so effective. I love the detailed harbour in this bottle – the little houses and the church spire give a sense of scale and depth. It would probably have been the home town of the artist sailor.

The second bottle is of SS Beltana which was originally built in 1912 on the Clyde and made her maiden voyage from London to Australia via Cape Town. She was built as an immigrant liner, taking many people across the world to start new lives primarily in Australia.

In 1914 she became a troop ship – hence the colours she is depicted in here – transporting troops from Australia to England. She resumed her service in 1919 and was sold to Japan with the intention of becoming a whaling ship, but she was scrapped before this in 1933.

These small works of folk art are not only decorative, but are also part of our social and proud nautical history.

These beautiful ships in bottles featured in today’s blog will be for sale at the October sale, or please enquire for further details.

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