During 1792 - 1815, the period of the Coalition Wars and the Napoleonic Wars between France and Europe, prisoners were taken on both sides. The majority of them were confined, sometimes for many years, in England and Scotland. During the first years, hulks were used to imprison the miserables. Lateron, “Depots” were built from timber to confine nearly 8000 prisoners, e.g. from 1797 onwards in the Depot at Norman Cross, near Peterborough. The granite prison at Dartmoor, commenced in 1805, received its first batch of prisoners in May 1809*). The prisoners were building ship models from scraps of wood, or mutton and beef bones. They developed an art form and the models were sold to the public, arranged by the guards. This trade supplied the prisoners with ivory and special tools so that the models would be all the more decorative. Rigging was made of human hair, horsehair, silk, or whatever other fine material could be obtained. For the most part, the models had carved wooden hulls covered with thin veneers of bone or ivory, and other parts of the model such as masts and spars were also carved from bone and ivory. To this day they remain highly sought after, valuable collectibles.
*) Walker, T. J. 1913. The Depot for Prisoners of War at Norman Cross Huntingdonshire.1796 to 1816. LONDON, CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD, 1913
Abell, Francis 1914. Prisoners of War in
Freeston, Ewart C. 1973. Prisoner-of-War Ship Models, 1775-1825. Nautical Publishing Company Ltd., Lymington, 1973, ISBN 0 245 504710.
Lloyd, Clive L. 2007. The Arts and Crafts of Napoleonic and American Prisoners of War 1756-1816. Antique Collectors' Club Ltd., Woodbridge, Suffolk, ISBN 978-1-85149-529-0.
Lloyd, Clive L. 2007. A History of Napoleonic and American Prisoners of War 1756-1816. Hulk, Depot and Parole. Antique Collectors' Club Ltd., Woodbridge, Suffolk, ISBN 978-1-85149-528-3.
Meyer, Jürgen und Joachim Münzing. 1976. Schiffe aus Knochen und Elfenbein. Katalog zur Ausstellung im Altonaer Museum in Hamburg. Norddeutsches Landesmuseum, 22. September bis 21. November 1976.
Mondfeld, Wolfram zu. 1989. Knochenschiffe: Die Prisoner-of-War-Modelle 1775 bis 1814. Herford, Koehler, 1989, ISBN 3-78822-0439-5
Palmer, Benjamin F. 1914. The Diary Of Benjamin F. Palmer Privateersman. The Acorn Club
Thompson, Basil 1907. The Story of the Dartmoor Prison. 298 pp. William Heinemann, London 1907
Walker, T. J. 1913. The Depot for Prisoners of War at Norman Cross Huntingdonshire.1796 to 1816. LONDON, CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD, 1913
Waterhouse, Benjamin 1816. A Journal Of A Young Man Of Massachusetts. 288 pp. Rowe & Hooker. Boston 1816