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The rigging and sails of the Brilliant model.

The 1:8 scale model was made with painstaking accuracy.

Tobacco Ship Brilliant

Fully rigged 1/8-scale model of 1775 ship
This is a 12-foot-long model of the tobacco ship Brilliant, a 250-ton vessel built in Virginia in 1775 for British owners. The Brilliant's first--and probably only--commercial venture from Virginia took place when, laden with tobacco, she set sail for Liverpool in the summer of 1775. Under normal circumstances, she would have returned with manufactured goods, but because of growing hostilities between Britain and the colonies, the ship remained in England. Records show that the Brilliant made one voyage to Jamaica and returned to London in 1776. Later that year, the Royal Navy purchased the merchant ship for just over £3,000 and immediately converted her to a ship of war for service in the American Revolution.

Model dimensions, 14'5" x 12' (including bowsprit) x 4'3"
Scale, 1' = 8'
Donated by the Tobacco Institute, Inc., 1978

Learn more!
· The Model
· The Ship
· Tobacco in Colonial America

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