This stunning wooden replica of HMS Victory is the result of 17 years of dedication and skill.
It is also a ship off the old block – for sculptor Ian Brennan has spent 5,000 hours carving it from a piece of timber from the real thing.
The model of Nelson’s flagship contains 200ft of intricate ‘rope’, 104 miniature guns, 37 little wind-filled sails, and flags spelling out Nelson’s stirring signal: ‘England expects every man to do his duty.’
The oak, taken from Victory’s lower gun deck, was so hard that Mr Brennan said it felt like carving concrete, and the project took much longer to complete than he imagined.
An official sculptor for the Royal Household, he was given the piece of wood while working on the restoration of Victory.
The beam provided enough raw material for Mr Brennan, 60, to create his 47-inch model.
During its creation, he has worn out four sets of overalls and cut himself countless times.
The warship is depicted in full sail as she headed for the battle of Trafalgar and triumph over the French and Spanish fleets in 1805. It was to be last and greatest of Admiral Lord Nelson’s successes. He was shot by a sniper during the fight and died below decks, surviving long enough to know that he had won.
Mr Brennan, from Warsash, near Southampton, has discovered one of his ancestors was killed on Victory during the battle. He said: ‘Some years ago I did some restoration work on Victory. I virtually lived on her for about a year.
‘They always try to use original timbers when doing restoration work, but some are just not good enough.
‘I was given a timber and had it for some time until I decided there was enough good wood to make a scale model of Victory.
‘I couldn’t work on it full-time and the wood was so hard it took me a lot longer than I thought it would.