bellerophon bell

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    greg b

      Hello all, first comment from melbourne Australia. A customer of ours who is an avid maritime collector has purchased what he believes to be the original bell from the H M S Bellerophon 1786. after metal tests the top part of the bell has arsenic added to the brass and dated to 1780s the lower part is lesser in arsenic suggesting a rebuild at some time, the top part is considered “old brass” while the bell section is after 1800. Has any person or persons ever seen a bell from the original Bellerophon 1786, this bell is ten inches wide and ten inches deep it was bought at auction in England in the early 1970s for fourteen thousand pounds and 2018 for thirty thousand dollars from a keen Napoleonic collector, there is a small plaque on this bell which was added in the seventies as there are no other marks.
      regards Greg Blunt
      p.s. Interestingly a swivel from the Bellerophon is in Commonwealth reserve Williamstown very close to our business premises in Nelson Place.

      Malcolm Lewis

        Consulting my nautical antiques dealer, we viewed the bell on the du Plessis Antiques, Adelaide, website and the opinion is that the shape and size of the bell is not of the period of HMS Bellerophon and unlikely to be from the famous ship. It is only 10” in diameter whereas Bellerophon’s bell would have been closer to at least 15”. The plaque apparently added in the 1970s denotes “HMS Bellerophon”, presumably to give some authentication, is incorrect as the term “HMS” was not used in Nelson’s navy. (Not sure when ship’s bells began to be engraved with the name) It is also suggested that the shape of the bell is not contemporary but more Victorian.
        It is really the size which counts against it being authentic.

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        Malcolm Lewis

          Extract from HMS Victory; Building, restoration & repair. Arthur Bugler 1966. Page33
          “The contractor supplying the watch bells of various dimensions for ships of the same class; some were probably smaller and contained less metal than the pattern or sample. This was brought to an end on 23 March 1814, when it was clearly specified that for First to Third Rates the diameter of the bell was to be 1ft.6 1/2ins.and the depth 1ft.3ins.”
          Bellerophon was renamed Captivity when she became a prison ship in 1815.

          David Hepper

            Apart from the plate – apparently a modern addition – what evidence is there to show it was from Bellerophon? It could be a valuable artefact if true, but unless it can be verified, it’s just a bell … provenance is everything

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