Turkey leftovers

26 December 2013 by Sam

model ship with wooden masts and string rigging rising from a bone hull

Turkey breast bone model. Accession number 1982.966

On the day that many of us will be raiding the fridge for the remains of Christmas dinner, Chris Moseley, head of ship and historic models conservation at National Museums Liverpool, has a very creative suggestion for what to do with some of it:

“At Christmas we all wonder what to do with the turkey leftovers – turkey sandwiches, curried turkey or turkey ship model?

This novelty model, which was made in 1982 by John Foran, a retired Lieutenant, uses a turkey breast bone for the hull. Looking like a ghost ship from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ it is nicely rigged, complete with ratlines and blocks, but without sails. I particularly like the large lantern at the stern.

There is a long tradition of sailors making models from animal and whale bones, these were bartered in ports around the world.

This is one of the more unusual models in the collection of Merseyside Maritime Museum. Another model made from unusual materials is featured in this year’s advent calendar.”

  1. paul creighton says:

    my dad who was a merchant seaman has made model from breast bones ie 3inch to about 5inch bones with sails ihave four but he made more for freinds i also have calader in brass which covers 50 years 2inch round with sailng ship and anchoa iam willing to bring down for viewing thanks paul

    • Chris Moseley says:

      Hello Paul, I’m pleased that the turkey bone model has raised some memories for you; your father must have enjoyed making and giving the models away. I have seen another turkey bone model in our collection and that one is painted white with red and blue details but the varnished one is nicer. Your dad was following a long model making tradition; our oldest bone models date from the 1790’s and were made by French prisoners of war, probably sailors too, best wishes Chris.

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