A Lugger lifeboat model by Twyman for the International Exhibition, London 1862. The planked and pinned hull of this lifeboat has a lead keel, bilge keels, a wooden rudder with a yoke, gesso-coated canvas wales and a grab line. It is fitted internally with a forward compartment enclosing a stove and glazed deck lights, seats, covered hatches with copper strapping, a bilge pump with a handle, mast securing points, a metal anchor with a buoy and other details, together with a quantity of furled masts and rigging, a silk flag, and other accessories. The bow has ‘Sunbeam/Friend of all Nations’ and the stern has ‘Ramsgate’, painted in gold on a black ground. English, 1862.
Provenance: H. Twyman (designer/modeller) thence by descent
Exhibited: International Exhibition, London 1862, Vol. 2, object no. 2760
The 1862 International Exhibition in London hosted a fine array of exhibits from 28,000 exhibitors, and enjoyed a footfall of 6.1 million (about the same as that of the 1851 Great Exhibition) but yielded a cleared profit of just £780. As Paxton’s innovative ‘Crystal Palace’ had been removed to the suburbs, the 1862 exhibition was housed on the site of what is now the Natural History Museum. According to the catalogue, The National Life Boat Institution exhibited some interesting models of boats for improving this humane branch of the naval service, and indeed, lists a number of lifeboat models, many with extraordinary claims for being indestructible or unsinkable. This lifeboat was designed by Twyman to have “air-tight compartments” sealed within the structure. These, combined with scupper pipes running through the floor the length of the craft, must have meant it was nearly always swamped with water. It would have been a costly alternative to the simpler cork-ended sailing and pulling type selected and used successfully for several decades. The quality of the model provides a tantalising glimpse at what would have been a very interesting stand as shown in the illustration above.