Tue, 7th Jul 2020 10:00

Maritime and Scientific Models, Instruments & Art (Unshaken)

 
  Lot 22
 

22

A LATE 19TH CENTURY WELL-PRESENTED MODEL OF THE S.S. MIRANDA, CHARTERED BY THE CONTROVERSIAL POLAR EXPLORER 'DR.' FREDERICK COOK, 1894

A LATE 19TH CENTURY WELL-PRESENTED MODEL OF THE S.S. MIRANDA, CHARTERED BY THE CONTROVERSIAL POLAR EXPLORER 'DR' FREDERICK A. COOK, 1894

the carved hull coppered below the waterline with black topsides, carved figurehead with filigree work, anchors in davits, varnished decks with simple wooden fittings, stayed funnel, four lifeboats in davits, saloon lights, capstan and helm, with twin racked masts with standing and running rigging, painted Union Jack, ship's name, mounted in contemporary wooden display case with mirrored back -- 18 x 35 x 10½in. (46 x 89 x 27cm.)

Built by Wigham Richardson & Co. in 1884 for C.T. Bowring, Miranda was chartered by the controversial self-styled American explorer 'Dr' Fred Cook (1865-1940) for a Polar 'Expedition'. She slipped her moorings in New York on 7th July 1894 with a mixed party of sportsmen, adventurers and academics. After a brief stop in Nova Scotia some of the passengers started to grow restive about the ship's seaworthiness with crew members fuelling their scepticism by telling them that iron ships were no good in very icy waters because the seams leaked if the ship hit ice. In what seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, Miranda struck an iceberg on 17th July off Newfoundland, which stove in three bow-plates. Needing emergency repairs, the nearest settlement (the fishing village of Cape St. Charles) was too small and on 29th July, the Miranda set off again, now with rather fewer passengers. On 5th August she struck a reef and began leaking badly; at first, the pumps appeared to keep the water levels down, but not for long. Another vessel, the Rigel, took the Miranda in tow for the return trip to St John's, Newfoundland, however, her luck was about to run out: on 9th August, her ballast tank gave way. Two hours later, and after the remaining passengers had been transferred to the Rigel, her tow ropes were cut and she was abandoned to founder, being last seen at 61° latitude, between Greenland and Labrador. 'Dr' Cook continued his extraordinary career, culminating in a fraud trial in 1923 for which he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. President Roosevelt pardoned him in 1940, ten years after his release and just before he died.

Sold for £2,108
Estimated at £800 - £1,200

(inc. buyer's premium of 24%)


Condition Report

Fine overall condition, some rigging probably restored some years ago, jackstaff needs straightening, otherwise typical fading and wear commensurate with age.

We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of this property. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Charles Miller Ltd is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.

 

A LATE 19TH CENTURY WELL-PRESENTED MODEL OF THE S.S. MIRANDA, CHARTERED BY THE CONTROVERSIAL POLAR EXPLORER 'DR' FREDERICK A. COOK, 1894

the carved hull coppered below the waterline with black topsides, carved figurehead with filigree work, anchors in davits, varnished decks with simple wooden fittings, stayed funnel, four lifeboats in davits, saloon lights, capstan and helm, with twin racked masts with standing and running rigging, painted Union Jack, ship's name, mounted in contemporary wooden display case with mirrored back -- 18 x 35 x 10½in. (46 x 89 x 27cm.)

Built by Wigham Richardson & Co. in 1884 for C.T. Bowring, Miranda was chartered by the controversial self-styled American explorer 'Dr' Fred Cook (1865-1940) for a Polar 'Expedition'. She slipped her moorings in New York on 7th July 1894 with a mixed party of sportsmen, adventurers and academics. After a brief stop in Nova Scotia some of the passengers started to grow restive about the ship's seaworthiness with crew members fuelling their scepticism by telling them that iron ships were no good in very icy waters because the seams leaked if the ship hit ice. In what seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, Miranda struck an iceberg on 17th July off Newfoundland, which stove in three bow-plates. Needing emergency repairs, the nearest settlement (the fishing village of Cape St. Charles) was too small and on 29th July, the Miranda set off again, now with rather fewer passengers. On 5th August she struck a reef and began leaking badly; at first, the pumps appeared to keep the water levels down, but not for long. Another vessel, the Rigel, took the Miranda in tow for the return trip to St John's, Newfoundland, however, her luck was about to run out: on 9th August, her ballast tank gave way. Two hours later, and after the remaining passengers had been transferred to the Rigel, her tow ropes were cut and she was abandoned to founder, being last seen at 61° latitude, between Greenland and Labrador. 'Dr' Cook continued his extraordinary career, culminating in a fraud trial in 1923 for which he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. President Roosevelt pardoned him in 1940, ten years after his release and just before he died.

Auction: Maritime and Scientific Models, Instruments & Art (Unshaken), Tue, 7th Jul 2020

Saleroom Announcements

Absentee Bidding Form

Unless government advice changes, we will be proceeding with our 7th July sale, starting at 10am, as a live webcast. Please note the following changes to our usual format:

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