Bill Broad­bent’s home is !lled with won­der­ful model ships. Here, Janet Glee­son talks to Paul A"er­bury about nautical an­tiques

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - HOMES | COLLECTOR’S BARN -

Tell us a li! le about the range of col­lectable nautical ob­jects

At the top end, there’s nav­i­ga­tional in­stru­ments, ma­rine paint­ings and ships’ mod­els. Sailors’ cra !s (such as wool­work pic­tures, ships in bo"les and scrimshaw), fur­ni­ture, ce­ram­ics and glass are also col­lectable, as are parts of ships, in­clud­ing lights and also #gure­heads. At a more mod­est level, some en­thu­si­asts also col­lect ephemera such as menus and post­cards.

How do ships’ mod­els "t within the nautical spec­trum, and what kinds of mod­els are avail­able?

They have al­ways been pop­u­lar, pos­si­bly be­cause they are one of the most ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas of nautical an­tiques, al­though the mar­ket has dipped in re­cent years. The va­ri­ety is vast: you’ll # nd ev­ery­thing from mod­estly priced mod­els made by am­a­teur mak­ers, and sailors’ mod­els, in­clud­ing ships in bo"les. Then, mid-range, there are some won­der­ful carved ships, o!en made by tal­ented am­a­teur mak­ers and, at the top end, in­cred­i­bly de­tailed ex­am­ples made by pris­on­ers of war or ship­yard mod­ellers.

What are ship­yard mod­els and why were they made?

It was the norm for ship­builders to make a scale model of ships they were com­mis­sioned to build for the board­room of the ship­ping line in ques­tion. These mod­els were pre­ci­sion made, o!en by ap­pren­tices work­ing in the dock­yard. Pro­fes­sional mak­ers, such as Basse"-Lowke, also pro­duced top- qual­ity mod­els for com­mer­cial pur­poses, such as RMS Queen Mary, for pas­sen­gers to buy as sou­venirs.

What de­ter­mines value and what should we look out for when buy­ing?

The name of the ship, the age of the model and the qual­ity of cra !sman­ship are all cru­cial. Col­lec­tors term any model that is old and built by hand from plans or imag­i­na­tion as ‘scratch-built’. Early in­ter­est­ing scratch-built ships are al­ways de­sir­able and prices for the best pris­oner of war mod­els or ship­yard mod­els can be £ 20,000 or more.

Prices tend to be much lower for later run- of-the-mill ves­sels and those made by am­a­teur mod­ellers, es­pe­cially if they were made later than the ves­sel they de­pict. There are also lots of mod­els made from kits on the mar­ket – these may have dec­o­ra­tive value but are less de­sir­able. Repli­cas made in the Far East should also be avoided. Buy from a spe­cial­ist dealer or at auc­tion.

A high-qual­ity model hull of Sham­rock, Sir Thomas Lup­ton’s 1920s yacht, is dis­played in the cen­tre of the ta­ble. To the left, is a tiny Sec­ond World War model of a frigate and, to the right, what was pos­si­bly a sales­man’s aid in the form of a First World War model tor­pedo.

The din­ing ta­ble in the main hall is used to dis­play some of Bill’s model ship and yacht hulls.

BE­LOW Ships’ ropes hang from the an­cient beams of the barn.

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