Ship Models in the Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario


Spanning some 350 years, the Thomson Collection of historic ship models contains examples of exquisite workmanship and some of the masterpieces of the genre. Pride of the collection are the rare British dockyard models made to scale for affluent 18th-century clients closely associated with the Navy. A large number of models – made from wood and bone, with rigging of human hair – were made by some of the 120,000 French and other prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars. The diverse collection also includes tugs, dredgers, trawlers, cargo vessels, passenger steamers, private yachts, corvettes, battleships, cruisers, torpedo boat destroyers and two aircraft carriers.


The author considers the rich history and the artistry of model shipbuilding. New photography captures the incredible workmanship – the carving, casting, gilding and stitching – that such model-making demands.

  • Simon Stephens

    July 2009

    128 pages, jacketed paperback

    280 x 240 mm, 100 illustrations
    ISBN: 9781903470824

  • In the press

    "Masterful catalogue." –Toronto Review of Books


© 2017 by Paul Holberton publishing