The world’s biggest ship in a bottle has been launched in Trafalgar Square – a model of HMS Victory is the latest in the series of art commissions to occupy Trafalgar Sqaure’s fourth plinth.
“Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” was created by leading Anglo-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, and reflects the history of Trafalgar Square, which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar.
- The ship was made using traditional oak, brass and twine
- Its 37 sails are made of brightly coloured Dutch wax fabric. In the 19th century these fabrics, inspired by Indonesian batik designs, were mass-produced by Dutch merchants who, failing to sell them in Indonesia, transported them to West Africa.
Yinka Shonibare says “For me its a celebration of London’s immense ethnic wealth, giving expression to and honouring the many cultures and ethnicities that are still breathing precious wind into the sails of the United Kingdom. A ship in a bottle is an object of wonder. Adults and children are intrigued by its mystery. How can such towering masts and billowing sails fit inside such a commonplace object? With Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle I want to take this childhood sense of wonder and amplify it to match the monumental scale of Trafalgar Square.”
Click to watch a short film about the fourth plinth and Yinka Shonibare’s “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle”