A monumental model of H.M.S. Leviathan will be offered by Charles Miller Ltd
on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 in his sale of Maritime Models, Instruments & Art in London (25, Blythe Road, W14).
A dockyard model, this 1st class armored cruiser was built by John Brown & Co. Ltd of Clydebank for the Royal Navy in 1901 and is 1/48th of the original size. Measuring over four metres in length, the ship is estimated at £40,000-60,000. The ship is being sold by the Rotherham Sea Cadets, who have had it for the last 50 years. The money will be used to support the day to day running of the cadets.
Charles Miller Ltds sale will comprise almost 250 lots ranging from artifacts relating to the Georgian Navy to Fine Ship Models as well as Scientific and Navigational Instruments and Marine Works of Art.
Six items from the most famous British Antarctic Expedition of all time will also be included. The objects were all used on the dining table upon the R.Y.S. Terra Nova the ship that sailed from England 100 years ago, in June 1910, and then in the hut at Cape Evans which served as a base for the Polar attempt and where Captain Scott celebrated his birthday. Engraved with the crest of the Terra Nova, two rare electroplated two-handled sauce tureens and covers by Walker & Hall, Sheffield are estimated at £2,500-4,000 each, while a dinner plate is expected to fetch £1,200-1,800 and quantity of electroplated knives and forks, also by Walker & Hall (est: £1,500-2,000). The most famous item is an electroplate cruet set which can be seen in a photograph of Captain Scott's birthday party at Cape Evans by Herbert Ponting is also estimated at £1,500-2,000.
Built for the Dundee whaling and sealing fleet, Terra Nova (Latin for Newfoundland) was ideally suited to the polar regions. In 1903, she sailed to assist in freeing from McMurdo Sound of the National Antarctic Expedition's DISCOVERY, under Commander Robert Falcon Scott. In 1909, she was purchased from Messrs. C.T. Bowring and Company for the British Antarctic Expedition, known also as the Terra Nova Expedition. Reinforced from bow to stern with seven feet of oak to protect against the Antarctic ice pack, she sailed from England a year later, under overall command of now Captain Scott, who described her as 'a wonderfully fine ice ship... As she bumped the floes with mighty shocks, crushing and grinding a way through some, twisting and turning to avoid others, she seemed like a living thing fighting a great fight.'
Although the 24 officers and scientific staff made valuable scientific observations, Scott's last expedition is best remembered for his death and four of his companions. After wintering at Cape Evans, on Ross Island, Scott and his companions set out on a race to be the first men at the South Pole. Starting with tractors and Mongolian ponies, the final 800 miles had to be covered by man-hauling alone. Reaching the South Pole on January 17, 1912, they found that Roald Amundsen's expedition had beaten them by 33 days. All five men died on the return journey. After returning from the Antarctic in 1913, Terra Nova was purchased by her former owners and resumed work in the Newfoundland seal fishery.
Also included in the sale are several other builders models of ships. A contemporary revolutionary French dockyard model for the 60-gun frigate La Poursuivante, dating from circa 1794 is expected to fetch £25,000-35,000 and was one of the few ships of the French navy at this date to out-wit the Royal Navy... [see illustration].
Of Royal interest is a builder's model by Bassett-Lowke of the Norwegian Royal motor Yacht Norge, which was re-fitted by her builders Camper & Nicholson in Hampshire, for King Haakon in 1947. Norge is now one of just two Royal yachts left in the world, the other being the Danish Dannebrog. The model in the auction, which is estimated at £5,000-8,000, is one of three examples ordered from Bassett-Lowke, the others being with the King, and the Sopwith family as the yacht was originally built for Sir Tommy Sopwith in 1937. This example is accompanied by a letter from the King and remained with the Nicholson family until now.
Another fascinating model in this sale is period, wartime, model of HM Gun Boat 334. The actual gun boat, in company with her sister, 335, took on no less than eleven enemy Schnell Boots off the Dutch coast. It is estimated at £3,000-5,000.