Ship Model of the British Merchant Ship Thomas Hicks

This model was donated to the Smithsonian in 2005 by the CIGNA Corporation of Philadelphia, PA. According to a 1930 letter from the London agent for the Insurance Company of North America (INA), CIGNA’s predecessor company, an INA Liverpool Surveyor found this model of the fully rigged, frigate-built East Indiaman merchant ship Thomas Hicks in a remote Yorkshire village. The letter also said that the Surveyor was told “that only an old time sailor could possibly have made and rigged it so accurately and that it must have entailed a considerable amount of skill and patience.” Off duty sailors often had spare time that could be applied to crafts such as ropework, scrimshaw or wood carving. Some also might build ship models, which was a subject they knew well. Sailor-built models traditionally are considered to have accurate, if unscaled rigging, since so much of what they did was associated with raising, trimming and lowering sails.
Currently not on view
Object Name
ship model
date made
ca 1825-1840
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 29 in x 32 in x 15 in; 73.66 cm x 81.28 cm x 38.1 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.