Sculpture Journal

The Schip model in Aberdeen: profane sculpture in a sacred space

Sculpture Journal (2015), 24, (2), 161–178.

Abstract

This article looks at the tradition of hanging model ships in Scottish churches, and considers in detail the background to one of the oldest examples in Britain: the model of a Dutch fifth-rate frigate, known as the Schip, which hung in St Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen from 1689. These models are often referred to as ‘votive ships’; however, this designation is far from accurate for these post-Reformation sculptures. In this article I explore what these models can tell us about the social standing of shipmasters and the power politics of display in the church space. I will also consider how the Schip model has been modified and restored over the centuries to be displayed now in Aberdeen Maritime Museum as a relic of the city’s maritime past.

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Author details

Greiling, Meredith