Ship Model of the Le Vengeur

This model of the French flagship, Le Vengeur was made by a French prisoner of war around 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars. In captivity, the prisoners in Britain made and sold ship models to pass the time and earn meager monetary rewards. Such models were made from wood or bone and ivory, and are often intricately detailed.
This rigged model of the French 130-gun, three-masted ship-of-the-line Le Vengeur has copper plating below the water line, highly detailed lines, rigging and fittings, a carved hull with triple galleried stern, and carved and inlaid bow with a female figurehead. Three rows of gunports below contain cannons, along with cannon mounted on the deck. The model has an elaborately inlaid geometric patterned base and the hull is all original with full plank-on-frame construction. Standing rigging is said to be original, though the top is mostly replaced.
Built in 1790, Le Vengeur was the flagship of French Vice Admiral Ganteaume. It was renamed Imperial around 1800. In 1805 it became Ganteaume's flagship in Brest, and broke through Lord Earl Cornwallis' blockade during the Napoleonic Wars, with seven other ships-of-the-line and sailed for the West Indies. She was sunk by the British off Santo Domingo in 1806.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1806
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 21 in x 27 in x 8 1/2 in; 53.34 cm x 68.58 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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