Miniature Ships in Designed Landscapes
Miniature sailing ships were seen on lakes in a number of English parks and gardens during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were often used for mock naval battles (naumachia), but were also sailed purely for pleasure, or perhaps to provide a focal point within the estate. Between 1689 and 1815 Britain was involved in a series of conflicts and it is not surprising that Anglicized naumachia and similar nautical pastimes became a popular and patriotic entertainment, which also celebrated the Royal Navy and Britain’s imperial power. Although the ships concerned were often depicted in contemporary pictures relating to the various estates, little appears to have been written about the vessels employed. This article focuses on vessels from two particular sites as examples of this stylized form of nautical entertainment.