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Nautilus shell

Objet d'art

Object connections:

Collection Objet d'art
User collections maxinthebox maritime by maxinthebox
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsGreat Britain (1843)

Object details:

Object ID OBJ0478
Description Nautilus shell with an animal’s head engraved on the inner curl. It depicts a steam vessel ‘Great Britain’ with a paddle steamer and sailing vessel in the background. On a panel bordered by foliage is inscribed: ‘The Great Britain Iron Steam Ship Constructed by T.R. Guppy Esqr. G.E. at the works of the Great Western Steam Ship Compy. Bristol, was launched on the 19th day of July Anno Domini 1843 and christened by his Royal Highness Prince Albert. In size rigging and construction, the Great Britain differs from every other steamer or vessel of any kind, which has ever crossed the Atlantic. She is the largest ship in the world. She is built of iron; and she is propelled by the screw instead of paddles. By the action of low pressure steam used expansively in four cylinders of eighty eight inches in diameter, with six feet strokes, one thousand horse power will be applied to a propeller of 16 feet in diameter revolving water under the stern. Altogether everything that skill, enterprise and capital, can do to make the Great Britain worthy of her name has been done. This shell is engraved with a common penknife. ‘Her extreme length is 322 feet, Main Breadth 50, Depth of hold 32 21 9, Promenade cabin forward 62 x 21 9, Ditto aft 119 x 22, Dining saloon forward 61 x 21 9, Ditto aft 98 6 x 30 She has 26 state rooms with one Bed, 113 with 2 Beds.’, ‘Tonnage 3500 tons, weight of iron used in 1500 [tons], the ship and engine stows coal 1200 [tons]. Her boilers weigh 200 [tons] and contain water 200 [tons]. Engines weigh 340 [tons], measurement 1000. Her six masts are fitted with iron rigging.’ Also shown are the Royal Arms, with the mottos: ’HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE’ and ‘DIEU ET MON DROIT.’ Under the arms of the United States of America: ‘O’ what a creature of light am I / As oe’r the calm blue waters fly / Pleasure is mine of a gentle cast / For I hate the din of a tempest blast / Others may love it, but give to me / a life on a hushed sleepy sea / where the o’er spent wind may barely waft / a zephyr along my tiny craft. / My sails I spread, my oars I ply / Neath the open face of a rosy sky / Learn of the little Nautilus to sail / Spread the thin oar and catch the driving gale.’
Date made circa 1845

Artist/Maker Wood, C. H.
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials organic: shell
Measurements Overall: 115 mm x 203 mm x 228 mm
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