Object of the Week: “William IV” Model Sailing Ship

A picture of the sailing boat in the westmorland gallery. It has lots of masts and is made out of wood.
The sailing boat belonged to a boy from the Bellasis family.

This week our Curator, Morag Clement, talks about a very interesting model sailing boat on display in the Kendal & Westmorland Gallery.

The model was built in the early 1800’s for the young heir of a of landed gentry family of the name Bellasis.   The identification of the latter was helped by research on the coat-of-arms painted on the board amidships with the motto “BONNE ET BELLE ASSEZ”, which may be translated as “good and handsome enough”.  This wording is in fact a pun on the family name of Bellasis. 

The Bellasis Coat of Arms it reads 'Bonne et Belle Assez'
The Belasis Family crest.

A line of the Bellasis family lived at Holy Hill, Bowness on Windermere, and it is reasonable to assume the model was made for one of its members, who sailed it on the lake.  Originally, the little vessel probably had a set of brass muzzle-loading guns, which could have been fired. 

The model is a gift from Mr Grayson.

The model has been re-rigged at least twice, the last being in 1991.  More recently, new cannons were made and fitted by Hugh Wright, and the rigging has been mended by our Natural History Curator, Carol Davies.

Morag Clement MA(Hons), MPhil, FSAScot 
Archaeology Curator 
Kendal Museum

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