AMERICAN FULL RIGGED SHIP
ALBUS DIORAMA SAILOR MADE MODEL Ca 1870
With Historic Provenance
Case 30″ L x 21″ H x 5″ D Model Length Overall 21″ L x 15″ H x 2“ D Length on Deck 15“
Presented is a crusty looking model of a three masted full rigged ship flying the American flag with 30 stars. From the main
peak she flys a pennant with the ship’s name ALBUS, and on the forepeak flys a red pennant with a blackball
called a house flag. ALBUS also appears on the trailboard of the starboard bow. This is a rustic representation showing the age of the work.
On the back of the diorama appears in large pencil:
Ship ALBUS of Marblehead
Captain Michael B. Gregory
PROVENANCE: Michael B. Gregory was born April 27, 1817 and went to sea at an
early age. He comes from a long line of seafarers and had a younger brother William D., seven years his junior, who also captained
ships during the same period. Michael’s first recorded command was the Ship SUNNY SOUTH in 1853, and then successively,
the ships, FRANCIS, WEST WIND, Brigantine MARY HELEN. In 1856, the ship NORWESTER, then the Ship MARY KIMBAL, Ship
ALBUS which is noted as “Lost”, but due to unrecorded circumstances. In 1860 he served in
the Ship PEERLESS and then, in 1861, was commissioned a commander in the Union Navy and ordered to the Steamer R.B. FORBES as captain. REF: Old Marblehead Sea Captains and the Ships in which They Sailed. Compiled and published for the
benefit of the Marblehead Historical Society, By Benjamin J. Lindsey, Treasurer, 1915. The painting of the ALBUS below
was handed down in the Gregory family and shows the Black Ball line house flag with a swallow tail.
model was handcrafted in wood and is housed in a shadowbox or diorama. The hull and deck houses are made of block and the
full sails are carved from wood that has been hollowed out to give them their realistic shape. The Colonial Blue
background is without clouds or other embellishments giving the display a Folk Art appearance. The wood case is without glass, and set in what may be paper
mache’ to replicate the sea. It has a brown caste and a regimented set of a choppy sea.
sails are carefully carved out of wood and are a full compliment of light weather canvas consisting of a flying jib, outer jib,
jib, and fore stays’l at the bow. The foremast carries a fores course all the way up to a Moon sail at the very top. There
is a full compliment of stay sails between the main and foremast and and between the main mast and the mizzen mast.
Block waterline models of this type were made as a spare time occupation of sailors at sea. They varied in their exactness
to the ship’s design, since plans were not available, and in the quality of the workmanship. However, the sailors
were exacting in the placement of the vessel’s sails and rigging. This one seems to portray the vessel as she likely
appeared, but was done in such a manner as to have a rustic appearance which is very appealing as a work of Folk Art.
Both pennants of the ALBUS. Note the Black Ball house flag should have a swallow tail
Back of the diorama showing the inscription of ship and captain