A LARGE, CASED WOODEN MODEL OF THE FRENCH GALLEY "LA RÉALE",
approx. 42in. overall and 32 1/2in. on the waterline, reasonably accurate construction with individual planks on hardwood frames and floors, detailed fittings in brass, wood and lost-wax castings, twin-masted with both lateen sails set together with various command and battle pennants, 30 pairs of oars, 5 cannon beneath the rambade with 'ram bow' or stem forw'd, set on a wooden base with brass and wood pedestals, the whole within a later perspex and wood case
Provenance: La Réale was a 'Lantern Galley' and flagship of the French galley fleet during the reign of Louis XIV. Designed by Jean-Baptiste Chabert, she was built in Marseille with her keel being laid in 1692 and completion two years later. As flagship she flew the royal ensign and represented perhaps the zenith of galley design. Her total complement was 550 men, of which 360 manned the oars (6 rowers to each oar) and 110 members of the soldiery. The ship enjoyed a relatively long commission for a galley and saw service until 1720.
Galleys were used by most major Mediterranean powers and first appeared circa 1,000 years B.C. Remarkably their design changed little (though it was improved and honed constantly) and their basic appearance was little-changed by the time of their gradual demise in the 18th Century. The main propulsion was always provided by oars, although most galleys also had fore-and-aft lateen sails which were surprisingly effective to windward.
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