Sculptor Takes 17 Years To Make HMS Victory

A sculptor's described how he spent 17 years working on an intricate model of Nelson's flagship HMS Victory made from a beam taken from the actual ship.

The effort became a "labour of love'' for Ian Brennan who had hoped to complete the 47in (120cm) long model in time for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005.

But five years late and after a total of 5,000 hours of work, Mr Brennan's project is finally nearing completion.

The 60-year-old, the official sculptor to the Royal Household, said:

"It seemed a good idea at the time but it went on and on, it became an obsession. Oak is a tough material anyway, but a beam which is hundreds of years old is like carving concrete. Also I didn't want to make a mistake because I only had one go at this.

"It's been a real labour of love, I would get up at 3am at times to work on it.''

Mr Brennan, of Warsash, near Southampton, Hampshire, explained that he was given the piece of wood when he worked on HMS Victory, which is based at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

He said:

"About two-thirds of this beam was rotten and full of worms so there was nothing they could do with it, so I basically rescued it from a skip to do something a bit different with it.''

Mr Brennan said he was now seeking somewhere to display the model, which stands 36in (92cm) high, which he says needs about 20 more hours of work to complete.