These model ships (Lots 197-199) and paintings (lots 200-204) form part of a collection, of which the remaining examples will be included in the Five Centuries sale on September 4th 2019. They formed an all-round display in the previous owner's home which had a wide view over the Forth, underlining his interest in the sea, shipbuilding and ships. There is a surprising contrast between the finely detailed and accurately rendered ships models in the collection and the group of paintings by Malcolm Cheape which are quite free in their execution. Cheape however was also keen to research his subject thoroughly, not only in the configuration of the ships but also in the accuracy of the surroundings into which they are set.
Cheape graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee in 1987 and has worked widely in Scotland and London ever since. His subject matter is drawn almost exclusively from the sea. His distinctive style combines paint, ink, pencil marks, paper and tape and are multi-layered pieces that are held in a number of private and public collections.
William Adam, who commissioned the present models was Leith born and bred and wanted to own scale models of the ships that he knew. He met Alan Berry-Robinson in London in 2008 and commissioned a model of SS Gothland in 2009, shortly followed by SS Pharos and SS Sunniva in 2010. All were built in the builder's-model style with gilded/silvered deck fittings on a carved timber hull, from original plans and photographs and, of course, Bill's memory. The last commission was for MS Hubert in 2015. Alan Berry-Robinson has been restoring and building ship models for the past 30 years for dealers, private collectors and Museums in the UK and overseas.
Here's a closer look at the model ships to be offered in our Scottish Silver & Applied Arts auction...
Built at Henry Robb Shipyards and ordered by The Currie Line, the Gothland weighed 1286 tons, and was launched in March 1932. With a length of 250 feet, the ship was primarily used on the Leith to Hamburg route in peacetime. In 1940 she was taken over by the Ministry of Defence. SS Gothland was in convoy rescue service sailing with 41 convoys and rescued 149 seamen. This service came about when it was noticed no provisions had been made for the rescue of sailors from sunk or damaged ships. Cargo vessels were converted to hold around 150 people, with larger catering and storage facilities for supplies, and basic medical services along with AA guns. Although they were supplying a rescue service, they were still a target, unlike Hospital ships. Gothland was also useful in the North Atlantic as her hull had been strengthened for working in icy waters.
Before being demobilised after the end of hostilities, she came back to the yard for inspection. To the satisfaction of the owners and the firm of Henry Robb it was found that after a prolonged period of excessive strain, the hull showed no sign of any structural defects, and the worst that could be found was a few slack rivets, a real testament to the shipbuilders who built her.
The ship was sold to Claymore Shipping London in 1958 and renamed 'Asrar'. In 1984 Henry Robb ran out of orders and closed in early 1984, ending over 600 years of shipbuilding in Leith. The land once occupied by Robb's shipyard is now the Ocean Terminal shopping centre, home to the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Built by Hall Russell and Co. of Aberdeen, the St. Sunniva was named after one of the first purpose-built cruise ships which was launched in 1897. Hall Russell & Co. was founded in 1864 and closed in 1992. The firm built iron and steel ships of every kind ranging from cargo vessels to warships and fishing trawlers, making Aberdeen a name synonymous with engineering excellence around the world. Initially, the company made engines and boilers but in 1868 produced its first ship. Hall Russell & Co. Ltd was the last of the Aberdeen shipbuilders.
The ST SUNNIVA II had a similar career to the GOTHLAND. Built in 1931 as a passenger vessel for the North of Scotland, Orkney & Shetland Steam Navigation Co., she was requisitioned by the Admiralty as a guard ship, and in 1940 was converted into an accommodation vessel. In September 1942 she was further converted into a Convoy Rescue Ship. After further refitting, she left Greenock on 3rd January 1943 on her first assignment and joined the New York-bound 35 ship convoy, which sailed from Liverpool on the 2nd of January. She was last sighted 21st January 1943 off Sable Island, Nova Scotia and it is believed that the ship capsized without warning due to severe icing up. No trace of the ship or her 64 crew and medical staff were ever found.
PHAROS VII was in service with The Northern Lighthouse Board from launch in 1909 to 1955. Built by Wm. Beardmore & Co. Ltd Glasgow. It was broken up in Charlestown, Fife by Shipbreaking Industries Ltd.
Beardmores were one of many large shipbuilders on the Clyde. At their peak they employed around 40,000 workers. Their original industry was steel forging but in 1900 they took over Napier and sons in Govan and moved into the shipbuilding industry, however they were also known for the production of cars and motorcycles as well as a variation on the 'London Black Taxi'
The duties of the PHAROS VII like all others owned before and since include the delivery of stores and supplies, buoy working and the replacement ships now have the added statutory inspection of the navigation aids on oil rigs in the Scottish sector.
Dates for Your Diary
AUCTION | Scottish Silver & Applied Arts | Wednesday 14 August at 10:00AM | Edinburgh
VIEWING | Sunday 11th August 12 noon - 4pm | Monday 12th & Tuesday 13th August 10am -17pm | Morning of sale
LOCATION | 33 Broughton Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3RR