About Brian
Brian at Work
The Replicas
Clients Comments








Brian Williams is a Marine Miniature Specialist who started making models of yachts and ships in the 1940s, while serving in the Royal Marines. Impressed by his work, commissions increased in number by various Clients principally for replicas of yachts.

In 1977, with the encouragement of the National Maritime Museum, which recognised his rare gift, he turned professional. He then devoted his life to the creation of these perfect scale miniature replicas upon which he had already established a world-wide reputation for excellence.

He now undertakes a very wide range of commissions for many subjects with an unusual skill of creating small scale miniatures ranging from 1:1000 to 1:75. All his replicas are created to clients’ requirements. This field now encompasses yachts for owners and crews; traditional sailing vessels from ships of the line to Thames barges and inshore vessels; commercial ships and warships; tugs; trawlers and work vessels – many for collectors and museums. For such a dedicated specialist the large range is unusual and based upon his extensive knowledge of the maritime history of ship building and vessels through the ages.

Lifeboats have always played a large part in his ‘yard’ program ranging from those of  the past to the current modern lifeboats. The RNLI commissioned him to produce a complete range for the RNLI Museum and used for exhibition and fund-raising but many have been created for lifeboat crews for presentations besides other commissioned by collectors. Brian has been a keen supporter of the RNLI for over 50 years and has so many friends amongst the crews and staff.

His replicas are outstanding for the fineness of detail in work of this scale – a fully rigged ship, even with a Watch of her crew in a showcase no larger than 10 x 7 x 6 inches.  A client, looking at his replica through a magnifying glass, was delighted to see that the shirts of his crewmen all fluttering to leeward. Similarly, in a lighter vein, another was surprised to see his daughter’s watch but couldn’t quite see the time!

Such comments emphasize that the crew detail is not a gimmick – it is what the eye can see and Brian has the uncanny ability of embodying not only the exquisite detail but the complete character of the subject, and the spirit of the sea, in his work.  The lifelike seas, are a significant feature, stemming from his many years as a marine artist.

 Outstanding commissions have been the Australian Tall Ships Trophy of the “Cutty Sark” – a giant by Brian’s standards of 14” length; a collection of 19th Century ships of the line; the “Mary Rose” commissioned for Prince Charles; J Class  and America’s Cup yachts; and others for both Royal collections and others including the Royal yacht “Britannia”.  He has the belief that his range of work is limitless, an unusual feature with a professional - one recently undertaken is a complicated oil industry support ship, quite the most detailed subject yet. There is a significant increase in commissions for commercial and warships which is testimony to his skill. In 2005 he completed an unusual limited edition H.M.S Victory to assist with the restoration of the ship.

Despite the thorough researching and drawing preparation, and the many meticulous man-hours involved, one of the factors behind his world-wide recognition is his ability to offer his work at very reasonable fees. This results from his long experience in this unique field. His work is found in many parts of the world, not only for owners and collectors but specialized galleries and museums, and all have seen the value of their replicas appreciate enormously over the years.

It is an occupation of immense job satisfaction which generates hosts of friends who possess his works, all supplied with their Certificates of Authenticity and Scale, but there is always a tinge of sadness when a replica ‘sails’ to her destination after the many hours working on her. 

Brian even publishes a regular newsletter for clients interested to learn what is happening in this tiniest ‘shipyard’ of all.


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