The Louis XV

iconic of the largest vessels in the late eighteenth that housed the command of the squadron, exhibited in Paris.

The Louis XV, 110 gun ship, 1720-1725 © National Marine Museum / A. Fux

Model of a 110 gun ship
before 1720
220 x 95 x 216 cm - Scale 1 / 36e
MNM 9 MG 1
Exhibition Paris, palace of Chaillot


Emblematic model of the biggest vessels of the end of XVIIIe century, these enormous ships housed the command of the squadron, composed in particular of smaller ships and frigates.
Le Louis XV represents a vessel with three bridges and one hundred and ten guns pierced with fifteen ports on the low battery.
The only vessel of this importance to possess this characteristic and which was built during the reign of Louis XIV is The Royal-Louis of 1692.
The name given to the model does not respond to any building that existed. It must indeed be a model presented to the future king for his initiation to "things of the sea".
Despite some archaic details, this model is very precise in its realization, and its rich ornamentation with a high symbolic content testifies to the prestige attached to the Royal Navy.


The admirable stern decoration conforms in all respects to those of the high-ranking ships of the last decade of the XVIIe century, apart from the theme evoked on the central picture. That of a king elevated to the rank of solar deity is abandoned at the end of the century.
Louis XV., Depicted in the guise of a Roman general, advances the sword raised in the midst of a set of military trophies, spanning his defeated enemies. This theme of a king on a human scale would not have been admitted during the reign of Louis XIV.


Louis XV studied the sciences, practiced geography and cartography. He has also been interested in the sea from the point of view of art. It is he who, in 1753, asks the painter Vernet to realize the series of paintings of the ports of France.
It was also during the reign of Louis XV that was born and developed the first school of engineers constructors of the Navy. We are also witnessing the rise of maritime trade from France to India, China and the West Indies.
Louis XV. Saw the sea only once in his life. It was in 1749, in Le Havre. The king had been nineteen years old, and visited the port of Le Havre in company with Madame de Pompadour and the Due de Penthievre, Admiral of France. If he did not board a warship, on the other hand he presided over the launching of three merchant ships.

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Inside the port of Marseille, Joseph Vernet

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