Reply To: Royal Yacht Model. Portland Collection. Welbeck,Nottinghamshire.

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#16913
Effie Moneypenny
Participant

    Hi Malcolm,

    Not all of the yachts were decorated to the same extravagant level as, say the Henrietta of 1679, and she did run into problems of funding for the degree of carvings projected – the carver was stood down at one point for lack of payment. It was mainly the ‘principal yachts’ which received this level of carving – around half of them – the others being built primarily for lesser duties than supporting the Royal family and other people of ‘quality’. And, yes, you are correct in thinking that whilst Charles had first call on his yacht fleet, they were available for a whole range of other duties when not required for his personal use – from the more usual such as dispatch duties to the more unusual such as undertaker duties.

    Should you be interested further, and pending publication of a SYRG book on the subject of the Royal yachts (one day we hope!), you could do no better than refer to J D Davies’ chapter 5 in his recently published ‘Kings of the Sea’. J.D. is one of our number so comes highly recommended by the SYRG . . . as well as, of course, his being one of the greatest living historians in regard to the Restoration Navy! Two of the yachts, the Katherine of 1661 and the Cleveland of 1671 (both principal yachts in their day) feature on the cover of his book and you can see that they too show the significant level of decoration given to these beautiful vessels.

    Incidentally, many of the warships of this era also received a significant degree of carving . . which to us today seems completely incompatible to their intended use. But, as I mentioned earlier, ‘puissance’ and ‘la gloire’ stood high in military and naval affairs in those days. It was not enough to be powerful, one also had to be seen to be so! Should you be interested further in these vessels, you could do no better than refer to Frank Fox’s’ seminal book ‘Great Ships’. Frank is also one of our number so comes highly recommended by the SYRG (of course!). . . as well as his also being one of the greatest living historians in regard to the Restoration Navy!

    Best wishes

    Effie Moneypenny
    Stuart Yacht Research Group
    Website: http://www.syrg.org.uk
    Contact: info@syrg.org.uk