sat 04/04/2020

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle casts anchor | Arts News

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle casts anchor

It graced the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square and now, with the help of a public campaign, Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle has been purchased for the National Maritime Museum.

A public campaign was set in motion by the Art Fund in November 2011 to raise the necessary funds to acquire the work, valued at £650,000.

The Art Fund kickstarted the appeal with a £50,000 grant and £264,000 was raised by the public, from mostly individual donors. Stephen Friedman, the artist’s dealer, and the National Maritime Museum also pitched in.

Measuring 4.7 metres in length and 2.8 metres in diameter, the work is a scaled down replica of HMS Victory, the ship captained by Nelson. However, its 37 sails are made of richly patterned textiles commonly associated with African dress.

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle will now have a permanent home at the NMM’s recently developed Sammy Ofer wing and will be on view in time for the museum’s 75th anniversary on 25 April. 

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