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Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

© Yinka Shonibare CBE. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Gautier Deblonde / Greater London Authority

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Notes

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'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' was a scale (1:30) replica of HMS 'Victory' in a bottle. It was the first commission by a black British artist, and the first to reflect on its setting. Trafalgar Square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, and links directly with Nelson's column. The ship's 37 large sails were made of patterned textiles typical of African dress. They are used to show African identity and independence. The work considers the legacy of British colonialism and its expansion in trade and empire. This was made possible through the freedom of the seas and the new trade routes that Nelson's victory provided. It now has a permanent home at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Date

2010

Medium

mixed media, including: acrylic (PMMA), cast resin, wood, brass & printed canvas

Measurements

H 280 x W 250 x D 500 cm

Accession number

WC2_FPC_S007

Acquisition method

commissioned by the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group; displayed on the Fourth Plinth, 2010–2012

Work type

Sculpture

Installation start date

2010

Installation end date

2012

Unveiling date

2010


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Located at

Trafalgar Square,

WC2N 5NJ