Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

A huge ship in a bottle with patterned sales.

Nelson's ship in a bottle, © National Maritime Museum

  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • If you have visited the National Maritime Museum in London, you might have seen this Ship in a Bottle on your way in. It used to stand in Trafalgar Square nearby the statue of Lord Nelson. It is a replica of Lord Nelson’s flagship, Victory. Nelson won the battle of Trafalgar from this ship in 1805 but also died on it. You can also find the coat he wore on Show Me.

      The sails don’t look like the kind you would have found on a ship like this in 1805. The designs are the kind of prints people wear in Africa, which Britain used to control part of. Britain was building an empire in Nelson’s time and this is one reason so many different races of people live in Britain today.

      The artist, Yinka Shonibare, has spent a lot of his life in both Nigeria in Africa and the UK so he is interested in mixing symbols of different nations in his work and making people think about our connected pasts.

      Things to think about:
      • The National Maritime Museum is somewhere you could go if you wanted to learn about Nelson and the Navy. Why do you think the museum wanted to display this object in 2012?
      • What designs would show your own identity?
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