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Maritime sculpture in context : ship models in Scottish churches

Greiling, Meredith Clare


Meredith Clare Greiling


This research presents a chronological study of the ship models currently to be found in Scottish churches. By investigating surviving models, examining references to mod‐ els now lost, and a comparison with ship models in other European churches, this re‐ search places the Scottish church ship models in a maritime and art historical context. Through a chronological study of the geographical spread of the practice of displaying ship models in Scottish churches and by examining the folklore associated with the models within the context of the church community, this research explores the socie‐ ties and individuals that commissioned these unique forms of maritime sculpture and seeks to understand what purpose they had for those individuals and communities. This research assesses the ways in which interpretation of ship models in churches has developed and how the historical value placed on them has changed. The appendix includes a catalogue of all the ship models found in this study, along with photographs, dimensions and additional information.

This research seeks to answer the following questions:

Where are there ship models in Scottish churches, and what do they represent? What was their significance for their churches and communities when they were in‐ stalled and what do they mean for those communities today? What can they tell us about Scottish maritime culture, trade, and art in the context of the church since the Reformation? This research combines art history, maritime history and ecclesiastical history in Scotland to form a more complete picture of these models and what they can tell us about the history of seafaring and the Scottish church.


Greiling, M. C. (2019). Maritime sculpture in context : ship models in Scottish churches. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 19, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords History
Public URL
Additional Information Department of History, The University of Hull
Award Date Jun 1, 2019


Thesis (7.6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 Greiling, Meredith Clare. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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