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Model presented to Elizabeth Fry given £20k auction estimate

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 September 2015

This model ship, which once belonged to Elizabeth Fry, is being auctioned

This model ship, which once belonged to Elizabeth Fry, is being auctioned

Archant

A handmade model of a ship that was presented to Elizabeth Fry at the end of the Napolenic Wars has been given an auction estimate of £15,000 to £20,000.

Elizabeth Fry by Samuel Drummond. This picture is in the National Portrait Gallery collectionElizabeth Fry by Samuel Drummond. This picture is in the National Portrait Gallery collection

The boxwood and ebony model, which was given to prison reformer Fry by grateful French prisoners of war, will be up for bidding at auctioneers Bonhams next month, five days before the 170th anniversary of her death.

Fry treasured the intricate model of the first class ship-of-the-line L’Argus during her lifetime and it has remained in her family for 200 years.

Sometimes referred to as the “angel of prisons”, Fry has a strong attachment to Barking, having been buried in the former Society of Friends Burial Ground, off Whiting Avenue.

Commenting on the the ship, Jon Baddeley, managing director of Bonhams and an Antiques Roadshow expert, said: “Not only is this a fine and extremely detailed example of a prisoner-of-war made ship and a most attractive piece in its own right, it is also distinguished by its association with the social and prison reformer Elizabeth Fry to whom the prisoners presented the model in gratitude for the support she had provided to them during their imprisonment.”

Fry was the second woman to appear on the back of a Bank of England note and is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated women of the nineteenth century.

The Quaker believed that prisoners should be treated with both justice and humanity.

Her grave in Barking received a new commemorative marble plinth in October 2003.

The ship will be sold on October 7 at Bonhams in Knightsbridge.


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