Old timber from HMS Victory to fascinate collectors

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 6th March, 2015

An historically important piece of timber from Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s flagship at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, HMS Victory, will be a major highlight of auctioneer Phillip Caldwell’s first sale for the year from 11am Sunday March 6 at 239 Wickham Road, Moorabbin.

The piece, made of solid oak, is the port side knee brace for a cathead, used as part of the anchor mechanism.

It was one of the timbers replaced during significant ship repairs about 10 years ago in time for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations and released to help pay for the work.

The timber is accompanied by a certificate of provenance signed by HMS Victory’s commanding officer at the time Lt Cdr Frank Nowosielski.

Built in 1759 but not launched until six years later, HMS Victory featured as the flagship in several major sea battles of the era before being used after 1824 as a harbour ship.

In 1922, she was moved to dry dock at Portsmouth and preserved as a museum ship.

Since October 2012, she has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord (currently Admiral Sir George Zambellas), is the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission and annually attracts about 350,000 visitors.

A year earlier, a five-year project management contract (with an optional 10-year extension) was awarded to BAE Systems for a £16 million restoration, including work to the masts and rigging, replacement of the side planking and additional fire control measures – the most extensive refit since HMS Victory returned from Trafalgar.

Several months later, ownership was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to a dedicated HMS Victory Preservation Trust, established as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

The HMS Victory timber piece is part of the estate of Paul Waite, a well-known antique collector and lecturer on fine art and porcelain aboard many large cruise ships, who died late last year.

The estate items in the auction number several hundred and include such major pieces as George Owen, Harry Davis and John Stinton Royal Worcester vases.

Other porcelain to feature includes Meissen, palatial Sevres, Bow, Grainger pate sure pate, Bloor Derby and Royal Doulton.  

The auction contains clocks from French Napoleon III and art deco periods, along with rare carriage and oak grandfather clocks.

Antique sculptures are by Clodion, Carrier-Belleuse, Van der Streeton, Magvian, Dubacand and Francois Bazim and there is a range of modern and traditional Australian art and museum quality pieces dating from the 12th century.


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