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The Hannah
(circa 1775 AD)
(circa 1999 for model)
by Bernd Braatz
Berlin Germany


Hannah by Bernd Braatz. Click here for a 717-pixel version.
Built by Bernd Braatz.
Photo by Bernd Braatz.

717 Pixel Version
4,226 Pixel Version

Here is a photo of the Colonial Schooner Hannah which was one of George Washington’s first armed vessels in the American Revolution. The model was made by Bernd Braatz from Berlin Germany.

Mr. Braatz is a traditionalist, building the model by the “umbrella” technique (the masts were folded down outside the bottle, inserted into the bottle then unfolded within). The model is completely traditional. The bottle is a high quality machine-made bottle that is extremely clear. The body of the bottle is cylindrical, about 8” in diameter. The bottle’s bottom is relatively flat, it’s shoulder is a segment of a cone while the neck is comprised of a small cylinder. The bottle is about 14” long. In short, the bottle is of very traditional form.

The ship rests in a putty sea that has some painted white caps, also has box and stern waves radiating from the ship’s hull. A cradle with dolphins supports the bottle and there is a “Turks head” knot work around the neck.

Just about all of the above is in sharp contrast with the modern school of construction. As a modernist, I have frequently been tempted to “lay down rules” of ship in bottle construction. I hope I have resisted this temptation!

If you participate in any art, do your own thing, if you let someone else tell you how it should be done, it is no longer your work. By all means examine the work of others; if you see something which suits your fancy, by all means borrow it and combine it with your ideas. You might come up with a “Variation of a Theme by Braatz.”

I am amused by the story about composer Peter Tchaikovsky who, after finishing Swan Lake, wrote to his mentor that he intended to stop composing because that ballet was a complete failure. Today, Swan Lake is one of the most beloved of Tchaikovsky’s compositions.

Artists cannot be objective about their own works, so we should leave such critiques to third parties - splash!

Mr. Braatz’ model won an honorable mention in the very prestigious Mariner’s Museum contest of 2000. Winning an honorable mention in this contest was very great recognition, particularly since it was done in competition with models outside of bottles!

Stated most simply, Herr Braatz contradicted just about every one of my precious rules and produced...a masterpiece. So the lesson here is obvious: don’t lay down rules as to how art should be carried out- if one does so, one is walking on very thin ice!

So, my congratulations go out to Mr. Braatz, a grand master of our art!


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~~~ Hit the bottle! ~~~