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HMS Surprise Research

Page 3 of 4

Researching HMS Surprise


Research Note 4, white washing of the gun deck bulwarks.

It is known from ship's logs that the gun deck inner bulwarks were white washed as their are numerous entries of re-application, below is just one such example:

January 1799
Friday 18th

Do. Wr. Employed Painting and White Washing between Decks
Answered signal for a Midshipman

Research Note 5, painting of the outer hull.

Although the exact appearance of the outer hull painting can not be known for sure, it is known from ship's logs that the outer hull was painted and blacked, from this information it is assumed that the most likely appearance is as depicted by our kit:

January 1799
Sunday 17th

Light Breezes and Clear Wr. Sent two Men to the Hospital
Employed Painting and blaking the sides and bends ans: general signal for a Lieut Rec'd fresh Beef & Bread

Note, the term 'bends' as used in the above log entry is a common expression usually used to reference the wales.

Research Note 6, painting of the quarter deck and forecastle bulwarks.

Although the colour of the quarter deck and forecastle inner bulwarks is not mentioned it is clear that they were not white washed as per the gun deck bulwarks; this is because there is a clear and consistent difference in the log references. While all of the references to work done on the gun deck specifically states 'white washed' (see Research Note 4 above), the equivalent references to the quarter deck and forecastle simply state that they are painted. With this in mind, the most common colour for painting inner bulwarks was red ochre as depicted by our kit:

June 1799
Thursday 27th

Do. Wr. Answ'd sig for a Mid am. emp'd painting the forecastle and Qr Deck.

Research Note 7, painting of the lower masts.

Although the colour of the lower masts are not mentioned, there are numerous references throughout the ship's logs to their being painted.
We have therefore chosen to show the lower masts as black, this was the colour most commonly used on masts during this period. (Many modellers familiar with HMS Victory will know that she had yellow lower masts but it should be remembered that this was only introduced to the fleet, by Nelson prior to The Battle of Trafalgar, as a quick means of recognising British ships.)

June 1797
Sunday 11th

Modte Breezes & Cloudy Wr. People & Tradesmen emp'd as necessary.
am Do. Wr. Emp'd painting the lower masts & otherwise as necessary.
Muster'd Ships Company open'd a Cask of Pork.

Further details will be added to this section as photos of the prototype model are released.




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To order, call:
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To order, call:
+44 (0)1905 776 073
Or buy online at
www.shipwrightshop.com