Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

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Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:23 am

Good day,

I have been building my Sovereign of the Seas kit for some years now and will start with a few comments about it. I basically took the bones of the kit and built the framework of the ship and then duplicated all the bulkheads and deck parts I had used and put the kit back together and sold it. From there, I scratch built the ship to the point it is at now. I enclose a photo of the stern as it sits now. The ornamentation that was included with the kit was not to my looking and with significant research, I wanted to duplicate contemporary presentations of the ship in my model.

post-11777-0-05306600-1425333244_thumb.jpg
post-11777-0-05306600-1425333244_thumb.jpg (25.72 KiB) Viewed 1191 times


I will add some of the research I did to arrive at my decision to carve all the ornamentation as this log builds.

More to follow.............
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:28 am

Here starts the research.
Part 1.

This is a tale of modeling one of the truly great Seventeenth Century ships of the English fleet, The Sovereign of The Seas. It is also a tale of differing opinions as to what this magnificent ship looked like coupled with the controversy surrounding the Sovereign ruling in England at that time. Charles I, on a visit to the shipbuilding yard in Woolwich in 1634 to inspect the Leopard, spoke to Phineas Pett, the master ship builder, about building a great ship of such size as had never been contemplated before. A typical ship of that day had (40) guns and a cost of approximately 6,000 Pounds. The Sovereign would eventually cost 65,586 Pounds after Charles approved ornamentation carved in Oak and gilded in gold that surpassed anything seen before. This extravagance proved to be Charles’s downfall as the Ship Tax that was imposed to pay for it was a factor that led to the Civil War and Oliver Cromwell bringing Charles to trial and execution in London in the winter of 1649. Although this ship was probably the most ornately decorated ship of all, the documentation existing to verify its appearance is minimal and mainly consists visually of an engraving attributed to John Payne in 1634 and a sketch by a Dutch artist Van de Velde The Elder from the same period. Written documentation of the ship is also limited and probably the most detailed account is a book printed just prior to the launch in 1637 by Thomas Heywood, a London Playwright and artist.

I decided after completing my first wooden ship model, Artesania Latina’s San Francisco, to model The Sovereign and acquired the Mantua Sergal kit. I see The Sovereign as a San Francisco, only magnified ten times. That is, much more of the same and larger in size. It is, as kits go, filled with surprises, some nice and some not so nice. My experience with San Francisco has taught me that the best plan is to research the kit as much as is possible, and also research the ship in the same manner. There are pitfalls with this kit as there are with any other, and the trick is to 'look ahead' far enough to avoid boxing yourself into corners from which there may be no exit. There are several articles available on building The Sovereign, one as recent as the fall of 1997 in Scale Ship Modeler magazine that are of great help in pointing out some of those pitfalls. I strongly recommend that they be looked at before you go too far with the assembly of the hull.

I decided to research the ship and with the help of my wife, who is a librarian, I obtained a book called "A Portrait of Peter Pett and The Sovereign of The Seas" by Geoffrey Callender. The book was written in 1930 and presents a bit of a mystery novel in fifty two pages about the two existing versions of this portrait, one of which is housed in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich England, and the other in the National Portrait Gallery in London England.

MSW1.jpg
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The portrait is of Peter Pett, the son of Phineas Pett pictured against a cliff as a background with the Sovereign as seen from the stern in the water to the left of the cliff. The book addresses several questions. What is the ship, which was the original painting, who painted them, when were they painted, and who is portrayed in the portrait? I was fortunate enough to have borrowed a copy of this book from a Local University Library for two weeks. The portrait is very beautiful, and portrays the Sovereign as the artist saw it sometime between 1637 and 1675. The ornamentation on the stern is brilliant gold against a black background, with the hull below the waterline depicted in white. This depiction differs from that shown on the kit box. Mantua’s background for the ornamentation is Royal Blue and the hull is finished as natural wood below the waterline. Additionally, the coat of arms and other ornamentation portrayed on the stern by Mantua is completely different than that of the portrait. The portrait shows Victory, holding two mottos, one in each hand, and on one side, Jason holding his oar in hand and on the other, Neptune, the God of the Sea. This ornamentation is the creation of Thomas Heywood who was given the job by Charles I. This presents a problem as far as the model goes. I now had to decide if I wanted to use the 675 ornamental bronze pieces supplied with the kit, or carve them from wood to match those shown on the Portrait and the Van de Velde sketch of the Sovereign shown in Callendar’s book.


More to follow........................................
Regards,
Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:29 am

Part 2.

Well, I have finished reading A Portrait of Peter Pett and The Sovereign of The Seas, and it must go back to its rightful home in a day or two. Just enough time to review a few parts before it parts company with me. The answers to the five questions appear to be answered if you believe the author. Here goes.

1. What is the ship?

It is pretty much a certainty that the ship in the portrait is the Sovereign. Thomas Heywood, the playwright and artist who was appointed by Charles I to conceive the details of the ornamentation. Heywood wrote a book called "A True Description of His Majesties Royall Ship, Built this Year 1637 at Wool-Wich in Kent; to the glory of our English Nation and not paralleled in the whole Christian World". It was released on September 7th, 1637, just prior to the expected official launch of the Sovereign. In the book he describes the decorations of the ship and the stern description reflects the portrait. It is significant to mention that the Sovereign was the first one hundred gun ship, and that it was twice the size of anything built to that date. A typical ship of that day was forty guns and could be built at a cost of 5,500 to 6,500 pounds. The Sovereign cost 65,586 pounds, 16 shillings and 9 1/2 pence. Clearly, a new standard in size and cost.

2. Who painted the picture? ( The Portrait in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich)

All evidence in the book points to Van De Velde, the Elder, a Dutch marine painter who was in England with his son at the time in question. The Elder Van De Velde was not a portrait painter, but rather a painter of ships. His son, had produced a self portrait and could have painted the image of Peter Pett. You are left with the impression that it was a joint effort of the father and son.

3. Who is the man portrayed?

By the calipers held in the right hand, it was felt that the man in the portrait was the architect or builder of the ship. The creator of the Sovereign was Phineas Pett (1570-1647). In his autobiography, he details how Charles approached him to build the great ship. However, the sitter is not Phineas Pett. If so, he would have been sixty seven years old at the sitting, and the man in the portrait is clearly much younger. The summation is that it must have been his son, Peter Pett the Great.

4. When was the picture painted?

It is apparent by the detail show of the stern, that the painter took a great deal of time to prepare for its painting. It would follow that he must have had some time in which to observe the ship. The logical times that this would be possible are:
a. - 1637-1638 at the conclusion of building operations
b. - The first re-building in 1659-1660
c. - The second re-building in 1685.

Both of the Van De Veldes were in England in at the time of the first and second re-building, and it is deemed to be Van De Velde the Elder as painting the ship, the Younger, Peter Pett, and the time as the first re-building in 1660.

5. What is the relationship to the painting in the National Portrait Gallery in London?

The book surmises that the painting in the National Gallery was a copy attributed to William Dobson. The book reveals that many of the details in the National Portrait Gallery version are not in keeping with accurate naval details and hence is a copy of the original in Greenwich.

These, briefly, are the conclusions that this book comes to regarding the two portraits. For my purposes, the book has aided me in getting a more complete picture of the ship I am modeling, the time it was built in, and has changed my view of how to proceed with her. I intend to follow up on articles published in the Mariners Mirror that comment on this book and will hold my conclusions until I have exhausted all available materials. I have simplified the answers to the above questions, and the book contains much more detail to support its conclusions. I would recommend that if you are intending to build SOS, you try to read this book and any other references to satisfy yourself of the direction you want to go in modeling her. I have very nearly decided to change the stern ornamentation and stern galleries on my model to more closely resemble the depiction on the painting. My reasoning is, that the portrait was painted in the time of the ship, and must resemble her, at least in the eyes of the painter, in a more accurate way than the pictures shown on the Mantua kit box. I may be wrong, but that is my conclusion.


More to follow......................
Regards,
Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:29 am

Part 3.

I have received through the diligent research of my librarian wife, six articles cited in Lars Bruzelius's Bibliography on The Sovereign at his WEB site.


http://www.bruzelius...Seas(1637).html

The first three are a single article presented in three parts and written by R.C. Anderson. In the article he discusses the painting in Geoffrey Callender's book, the sketches attributed to the Van de Veldes, rigging, triple decks, number of guns and other items in an effort to de-mystify what the Sovereign really did look like and which representation may be the closest to the real ship. He concludes that his article reaches no definite conclusion as taken from every conceivable view. He summarizes by saying that his article may have shown up weak points in previous representations that were accepted as reliable.

A fourth article by G.S. Laird Clowes explores the same issues and concludes that the sketches and portrait were not drawn by the Van de Veldes. He concludes that the large sketch in the book by Geoffrey Callender was more likely the original sketch by Payne from which he made his now famous print.

It would seem that the sad part about all of this is that this ship was not documented in great detail, and the few representations of her were lacking identification of their creators. It has left a great mystery to be re-hashed again and again in order to conclude what the ship really looked like. That in itself is a great magnet to me and offers adventure, rather than frustration! I think the general concensus is that the Payne print of The Sovereign and the large sketch in the Portrait book by Payne or Van de Velde, along with the description by Thomas Heywood in his book " A true Description of His Majesties Royall Ship, Built in this Year 1637 at Wool-witch in Kent; to the great glory of our English Nation, and not paralleled in the whole Christian World", form a reasonable picture of what The Sovereign must have looked like in its time.

This description varies from what Mantua has provided in the kit in a number of ways. That said, I feel that the Mantua kit is an acceptable effort to provide modelers with the opportunity to build her, and achieve a very fine model. The kit may not be accurate to the Payne Print or the sketches, or the Portrait, but it is a very good start at it, and with a little research and adventuresome spirit upon the part of the modeler, a modified version can result which could be very close to Payne's Print, the sketches, and those observations by the writers of the articles in the Mariners Mirror and in the Portrait of Peter Pett and The Sovereign of The Seas. As for the cost of the kit, you simply have to weigh it against the time it would take to re-create the very large number of carvings on SOS along with the difficulty in obtaining plans from which to work. Not to say that it couldn't be done, but it would be at some cost in dollars and personal time. The carvings alone would be a monumental task.

I hope to dig out more on The Sovereign, and will share my travels with you as I get to it. Now I must get back to planking the hull, as the research has consumed four weeks of building time.

Thanks to Lars for his support and off list e-mails that have helped me in my research. Incidentally, his web site pages are always being updated as he obtains new facts, and he is going to be adding some interesting information to The Sovereign page soon.


More to follow...........

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:30 am

Part 4.

I have read and returned to the University of Western Ontario Library, a book written by Alan R.Young,
a professor at Acadia University, who critiqued Thomas Heywood's book written in 1637 describing
The Sovereign of The Seas. Thomas Heywood was a playwright and had been annually responsible for the creation of successive Lord Mayors' pageants in London. A pageant consisted of a play presented with actors on moving carts with stage settings which were conveyed through the streets for the populous to
view. The sets sometimes consisted of elaborate carvings, and Thomas Heywood worked with
The Christmas brothers, John and Mathias, who had been appointed Naval Carvers in 1634, in producing the pageants. Charles I appointed Heywood as the designer of all of the carvings and adornments on The Sovereign of The Seas, and Heywood used the Christmas brothers to carve them. Heywood wrote his book, A true description of His Majesty's Royall Ship called The Sovereign of The Seas built in Wolwitch in Kent 1637, and had it published to coincide with the launch of the Sovereign on September 25, 1637. In it he starts with some poetry written by his good friend Shackerley Marmion and spends a great deal of time talking about nautical history going back to Noah's Ark and Jason's Argo. Eventually, he describes the Sovereign of The Seas, including rather detailed descriptions of the carvings and their meanings. It becomes clear when he describes the stern, that the adornments are those shown in the Portrait of Peter Pett and The Sovereign of The Seas which I wrote about in my earlier e-mails. He describes Victory with Jason on her right and Hercules on her left. He also describes the carvings at the beakhead and on her hull in great detail.

In a later printing of the booklet, Heywood also makes mention of the crew of The Sovereign and also mentions that Peter Pett, the master builder had the grandeur of the Sovereign "graved in a portrait by the excellent artist Mr. John Paine, dwelling near the posterne gate neere unto Tower-hill, of whose excellent skill as well in drawing and painting, as his Art in graving, I am not able to give Character answerable unto his merit".

The conclusion would appear to be that the kit by Mantua depicts the stern in a different light than the Payne engraving or the Portrait in Greenwich. Perhaps it was meant to emulate the Sovereign after one of her re-builds. At any rate, I have decided to modify the kit and will try to build the stern as close to the portrait as I can. It may be that with the limited material available on this ship, that a truly accurate depiction of her may not be possible. I think that credit must go to Mantua for providing a model of this great ship regardless of its historical accuracy.

More to follow.........

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:30 am

Part 5.

I feel somewhat guilty that I did not give you more information from the book "His Majesty's Royal Ship", a criticism of Thomas Heywood's book published in 1637. As I plan to modify the stern of the Mantua model of SOS that I am building, the carving is of great importance to me. I want to give you some more detail in this regard and share with you the descriptions that Thomas Heywood wrote in 1637.

He starts by describing the figure of King Edgar on a horse trampling seven kings. This can be clearly seen in the Payne engraving and the Van de Velde sketch included in the book. He writes:

"Upon the Beak-head sitteth royall King Edgar on horse-backe, trampling upon seven Kings: now what he was, and who they were, I shall briefly relate unto you, rendring withall a full satisfactory reason to any unpartiall reader, why they are there and in that manner placed."

The figure is of King Edgar who is trampling the seven kings. They are Kynadus, King of the Scots; Malcolme, King of Cumberland; and of the petty Kings of Wales, Difnall, Grifith, Huval, Jacob, Judithil. King Edgar was said to have had these Kings row him up and down the River Dee to show his strength as a Naval Ruler. He proclaimed himself the Lord of The Four Seas and Charles had the motto "Ab Edgaro quatuor Maria Vindico", ( "By the authority of Edgar, I lay claim to the Four Seas") placed on the Sovereign beneath the beakhead. The figurehead was intended to be a prefiguration of Charles.

He then describes the figure of Cupid that is located at the Beak-head and which can be clearly seen in the Payne engraving and the Van de Velde sketches. He describes it as follows:

"I began at the Beak-head, where I desire you to take notice, that upon the stemme-head there is a Cupid, or Child resembling him, bestriding and bridling a Lyon, which importeth, that sufferance may curbe Insolence, and Innocence restraine viloence, which alludeth to the great mercy of the King, whose Type is a proper Embleme of that Great Majesty, whose Mercy is above all his Workes."

Alan Young continues to say that this was again emblematic of Charles and was intended to show his mercy. He also notes that perceiving the lion as emblematic of violence would have been natural, however it is not as easy to associate it with Royalty unless aided by Heywood's text.

More to follow....................

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:31 am

Part 6.

Well, on to the beakhead bulkhead. There are six figures described by Thomas Heywood in hid book, and Mantua has chosen to use six identical figures of a woman moulded in brass. They are, however, very different and as Heywood describes, are intended to depict not just a representation of typical figures on a warship but also having a relationship to one another. He writes:

"On the Bulk-head right forward, stand six severall Statues in sundry postures, their Figures representing Consilium, that is, Counsell: Cura, that is: Care: Conamen, that is, Industry: and unanimous endeavour in one compartment: Counsell holding in her hand a closed or folded Scrole; Care a Sea-compasse; Conamen, or Industry, a Lint-stock fired. Upon the other, to correspond with the former, Vis, which implyeth force, or strength; handing a sword. Virtus, or Vertue, a sphearicall Globe; and Victoria, or Victory, a wreath of Lawrell. The Morall is, that in all high Enterprizes there ought to be first Counsell, to undertake; then Care, to [Gla] manage; and Industry, to performe; and in the next place, where there is ability and strength to oppose, and Vertue to direct, Victory consequently is alwayes at hand to crown the undertaking."

It is unfortunate that Mantua could not make each figure distinct, but I fear that it was in aid of reducing costs or a misrepresentation. In any case, this can be corrected if you carve your own figures, and use the Van de Velde sketch as a guide. They can all be seen in his sketch, whereas the Payne engraving is taken from a different angle, and they are very difficult to see clearly.

In the next part, I will discuss the criticism Heywood suffered in some of his choices of carvings and mottos, and also have a look at the very ornate and beautiful stern decorations.

More to follow....................

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:31 am

Part 7.

Before I get to the stern, Heywood describes additional carvings of which he writes:

"Upon the Hances of the waste are foure figures with their severall properties: Jupitor riding upon his Eagle, with his Trisulk ( from which hee darteth thunder ) in his hand; Mars with his Sword and Target, a Foxe being his Embleme; Neptune with his Sea-horse, Dolphin and Trident; and lastly Aoelus upon a Camelion ( a beast that liveth onely by the Ayre ) with the foure Windes, his Ministers or Agents, the East call'd Eurus, Subsolanis, and Apeliotes; the North-Winde, Aquilo or Boreas; the West, Zephyrus, Favonius, Lybs, and Africus; the South, Auster, or Notus."

The Hances of the waste are the points where the main rail curves up to meet the forecastle forward and the quarterdeck aft. Of the four figures mentioned by Heywood, only the last two, Neptune and Aoelus, can be seen in the Van de Velde and Payne sketches. He does not offer any further explanation or symbolism for these figures and we are left to our imagination as to their meaning. Unfortunately, Mantua has again used the same moulding for all four figures, and it resembles the figure of a person sitting upon a throne like structure and slumped forward. Once again, these would have tp be replaced by scratch carvings if you wanted to follow the Van de Velde sketch and the descriptions of Heywood for the sake of authenticity.

Heywood tells us that even prior to his book being printed or the launch of The Sovereign, he suffered some criticism as to its decorative scheme. This adds validity to the notion that he was the author and creator of the decorations on The Sovereign. In referring to the mottos he used on the stern of the vessel he wrote:

"in her two hands she holdeth two Mottoes; her right hand which pointeth to Jason, bears the Inscription, Nava, (which word whosoever by some, and those not the least opinionated of themselves, mistaken) was absolutely extermin'd and excommunicated from all Grammaticall Construction, nay, Jurisdiction; for this would not allow it be Verbe, or Adverbe, Substantive, nor Adjective; and for this I have not onely behind my back been challenged, but even Viva voce taxed, as one that had writ at random, and that which I understood not."

We are now at the point of describing the stern, and as it is a lengthy discussion, I will take a break until part 8.

More to follow..........................

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:31 am

Part 8.

Well, I took a break during which I had the opportunity to travel to Florida and visit my friend John Weliver and see his very fine completed model of The Sovereign. He in turn introduced me to Father William Romero. It was a very enlightening visit and I came home even more determined to complete The Sovereign as historically correct as I am capable of and to try my hand at carving the Stern Gallery adornments. With that said, we can now resume where I left off and talk about the stern as described by Thomas Heywood in his book A True Description of His Majesties Royall Ship. In passing, I would like to point out that Lars Bruzelius has added the text of this book to his web site at:

http://pc-78-120.uda...ign_of_the_Seas(1637).html

For anyone contemplating the modeling of the Sovereign, this site is invaluable and the text is worth the read. Thanks to Lars. Now, on to the stern.

The author, Alan R. Young, explains that Heywood describes the stern as pictured in The Portrait of Peter Pett by Peter Lely, and goes on to say that the central figure is that of Victory with the motto "Validis incumbite remis", or Lean Upon Strong Oars. Victory has a crown signifying riches around one arm and a laurel on the other for honour. Her right hand is pointing to Jason while her left hand points to Hercules. This may be meant to signify that Hercules should be valiant on the land while Jason is industrious with his oar on the waters. Hercules points to Aeolus, god of the winds, who is flying on an eagle. Jason can be seen to be holding the golden fleece in his left hand. As his hands are full, he cannot point to Neptune, the god of the seas, who is riding a sea horse. This description of the stern decorations and the corresponding portrait are quite different from Mantua's kit. I should also point out that drawings that appear in the book "A History of Naval Architecture, 1851, by John Fincham, depict the stern very much like the Mantua version. There are clearly more stern gallery windows evident, and the area described above by Heywood is shown quite differently, and includes a Royal Crest emblem with a Lion and a Unicorn. I am left to believe that at some time in The Sovereign's history, during one of her rebuilds, the stern must have been altered.

Additionally, the author points out that in the Lely portrait, the motto "Soli Deo Gloriam", presumably chosen by Thomas Heywood, can be seen on the stern. He further points out that the Lely painting shows the lion and the unicorn, the royal supporters, at either end of the taffrail, the figure below Victory, the royal arms below that and the three feathers of the Prince of Wales underneath. The painting also shows other heraldic themes as the rose and thistle with the crowned monograms "CR" (Carolus Rex) and "HM" Henrietta Maria). There is also a frieze across the stern including the English Lion, the Scottish Unicorn, the Welsh or Tudor dragon, and the Tudor Greyhound. Young further describes additional friezes in the painting which are very difficult to decipher.

I very much like the representation in the Peter Lely portrait, and have decided to modify the kit to try to achieve this look. The colour scheme of black and gold, described by Heywood and decried by Charles the first is the representation which I will try to achieve. Whichever way the model is completed, the stern is quite detailed and makes a very handsome picture when completed.


More to follow...........................

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/
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Re: Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

Postby modelshipwright » Sat May 07, 2016 7:32 am

Part 9.


Well, I am back after nearly a month. I've been busy working on The Sovereign and specifically modifying the stern of the ship to resemble the Portrait in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich by Lely. It is certainly looking very different than the Mantua rendition, and I think when it is complete, it will look very close to the portrait. Now, more on the ships history.

In Alan Young's book he makes reference to The Payne engraving and the Van de Velde sketch in pointing out the heraldic badges and beasts on the beakhead, including the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the harp of Ireland, the dragon of Wales, the fleur-de-lys of France, the three feathers of the Prince of Wales, the lion, the unicorn, the greyhound together with the monograms of Charles and Henrietta Maria. He mentions that some of these also appear on the sides of the quarter galleries amongst portrait heads and interspersed with groups of military trophies, drums, weapons, cannons, trumpets, etc. The catheads were supported by goat-headed satyrs. He further mentions that in his research, that a cannon which is now at The Royal Artillery Institution at Woolwich, was from the Sovereign and once could be seen in St. James Park in London. It is embossed with a rose ensign with a crown, the foul anchor, the sceptre and the trident and the motto "Carolvs Edgari Sceptrvm Stabilit Aqvarvm", Charles has grasped Edgar's sceptre of the seas. This engraving added 3 Pounds to the cost of every cannon. The cannon were made by John Brown who was the king’s gun-founder in 1638.

Young gives many more details in his book and I recommend that if you are contemplating building The Sovereign, that you should read it if possible.

The Sovereign had a keel of 126 feet, a breadth of 46 feet 6 inches, and tonnage by draught in water of 1661 tons. She was clearly much larger than any of her predecessors. The largest ship to fight the Spanish Armada had been 760 tons. Charles had insisted that she have 102 cannons. Her cost ended up at 65,586 Pounds, 16s. and 9 1/2d. Charles had spent 6691 Pounds on the carvings and adornments alone. The cost of the Sovereign eventually led to the downfall of Charles I and as history has recorded was influential in thrusting the country into civil war. It had a far greater impact on Charles and the country itself than it ever did in battle.


Well, that pretty well finishes the research I have done to date on the Sovereign. I am going to continue to look for other information. and one day hope to visit the NMM in Greenwich. At their WEB site, you can do a search of their database of paintings and sketches. Several come up under the Sovereign, and I would like to see them some day if I get the chance.

In conclusion, Mantua's kit offers the modeler a chance to build this magnificent ship to their rendering, or with a little research, to a modified version more in keeping with the Portrait. Without Mantua's kit, I believe it would be very difficult to scratch build her to represent an historically accurate depiction. In this case, and for me, the kit proved to be the catalyst to build a ship which I am very fond of.

More to follow.................

Bill
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

Current build: Mantua Sergal bashed Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Carving Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models.
My website: http://www.carvingbook.weebly.com/

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