18 June 2008

Gracing a quiet room in Cambridge...

...is what is probably the most accurate model of the HMS Beagle in the world:

Photo kindly provided by Professor Simon Keynes, Trinity College, Cambridge
The owner of the model, Simon Keynes, Cambridge professor and a great great grandson of Charles Darwin, tells me,
"My model of the Beagle, based directly on the drawings in Marquardt's book ... is a bit over 3 ft in length (from the tip of the bowsprit to the dinghy over the stern), and about 2ft 9 in from its base to the top of the main mast. (What you can't see is that one can lift off the poop deck, in order to reveal the poop cabin below, with the chart table, bookcases, etc.) ...

"I asked to have the courses and the royals furled (as seems generally to have been the case when the Beagle was drawn by Martens), with only the topgallants and topsails set, with two staysails and a jib, and the spanker on the mizzen mast (which must have been rather useful for steerage). I didn't ask for the main and fore trysails to be set, yet they couldn't resist providing them; but it's not clear to me that they would or could have been used at the same time as the square sails. I shall be very interested to have any comments from others."
For me, the knowledge that this is a precise and accurate model really increases its power as a window into a future that we hope holds a new full size replica.

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