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National Museum of the Royal Navy sets sail with new licensees

National Museum of the Royal Navy has secured new licences with US-based Ampersand Book Studio and UK jewellery company, Hepburn & Hughes.

Both will be using historic and highly sought after wood originating from HMS Victory.

Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, HMS Victory is undergoing a major conservation project costing £35 million. This is not the first time that this fine ship has been restored. It has been a regular occurrence since she was built and launched at Chatham dockyard in 1765.

She was severely damaged at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 – which also claimed the life of Lord Nelson – and had a major refit in 1806, followed by a series of refits, repairs and modifications during the 19th century.

Following service during the First World War, she was finally put into dry dock in 1922. Work commenced to bring her back to her former condition and, by the time of the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar in 2005, much work had been done to preserve and make her safe. This work continues, precious wood and materials – called ‘arisings’ are removed, conserved and stored and replaced with appropriate and sympathetic material where needed.

Ampersand Book Studio creates hand crafted books, journals and book-related art prints. The company will create a fine press edition of Patrick O’Brian’s novel, Master and Commander, and will create covers made from authenticated wood taken from HMS Victory.

“We have spent months working with the literary estate of Patrick O’Brian and felt that our edition would only be complete with authentic wood from HMS Victory,” commented Tristan Reader, founder of Ampersand Book Studio. “We are delighted now to have secured this precious material for our iconic edition.”

Hepburn & Hughes, meanwhile, has created a unique and interesting range of sterling silver pendants cuff links and rings by upcycling the precious material from HMS Victory. Each item comes complete with a certificate of authenticity bearing the HMS Victory trademark.

“Our HMS Victory range is one of our best sellers and we are delighted to become official licensees,” commented Zoe Wongsam, director at Hepburn & Hughes. “This has given us the opportunity to develop our historical memorabilia range.”

Emma Allen, head of commercial services, continued: “Wood from HMS Victory is a precious and inspiring material and we are delighted to be working with two such creative companies producing fine quality products.”

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