Glasgow is renowned throughout the world as a centre for shipbuilding, this reputation is reflected in the city’s internationally significant collection of ship models, which are cared for by Glasgow Museums. A new book Glasgow Museums: The Ship Models – A History and Complete Illustrated Catalogue is the first fully illustrated record of all 676 ship models held in our collection. The book took over a decade to compile.
Some of the most famous ships launched on the Clyde are included, such as the RMS Queen Mary and HMS Hood, as well as models of historically significant vessels, including the first European passenger steamer Comet and the world’s first turbine-powered vessel King Edward.
They are complemented by river steamers, tea clippers, oil tankers, yachts, battleships, dredgers and tugs. An extensive array of fine amateur models include everything from tiny miniatures made by French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars to the much-loved Clyde puffer and even a talented example of the familiar ship in a bottle.
Amassed mainly through a uniquely successful relationship between shipbuilders, ship owners and Glasgow Museums over the last one hundred and fifty years, the models range in size from a few centimetres to over 6 metres in length and represent ships built on every part of the Clyde. Models made for and by great Glasgow shipbuilders, smaller specialist shipyards and a wealth of skilled, amateur model makers are on show.
For the first time ever we can show the collection in its splendid entirety. The book includes a description and stunning images that reveal exquisite detail of each of the 676 models or model groups in Glasgow Museums’ collection, ranging from the eighteenth century, through every decade of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries right up to the present day. Together with newly researched and in-depth chapters about the making and history of models and fascinating historic photographs of exhibitions, model makers and model workshops from a period spanning 150 years.
The industry ship models were often constructed to refine the design of a new vessel or to illustrate and promote a completed vessel at exhibitions. Most were built at a scale of 1:48, 1 inch to 4 feet, and in one of two forms; a half hull, which shows one half of the hull as if divided down the centre line of the vessel or a full-hull, which was usually fitted with a realistic framework of how the finished ship would look.
First displayed in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum’s ‘Ship Court’, the models were moved to the newly created ‘Clyde Room’ at the Museum of Transport in Albert Drive in 1978. By the time the museum moved to the Kelvin Hall in 1988, the Clyde Room had become a much-loved feature, so it was recreated on a larger scale and proved incredibly popular.
Riverside Museum now displays around one quarter of Glasgow’s world famous ship model collection, which remains a favourite exhibit with visitors. Glasgow Museum Resource Centre houses the remainder of the collection, which is publically accessible by appointment.
Glasgow Museums: The Ship Models – A History and Complete Illustrated Catalogue is now available to buy at Riverside Museum and can be ordered from www.booksource.net. It is co-published with Seaforth Publishing, £35.