The University of Lincoln was awarded the contract by the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth to research and investigate the historic paint finishes applied to the Victory.
HMS Victory is without doubt one of the key surviving historic ships in the world as the sole surviving ship of the line dating to the mid 18th century. In fact the Victory was first laid down at Chatham in 1759 and finally floated up in 1765, so it is evident her building was fairly leisurely and she was already 40 years old at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The ship is undoubtedly a national icon, seen by many as a potent symbol of British resolve and mastery of the seas during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is also a memorial to Admiral Horatio Nelson and the proud tradition of the Royal Navy that continues to this day. The Victory is currently undergoing a major programme of restoration to secure its future and the University of Lincoln have been commissioned to research the appearance of primarily the ship's interior spaces. This research will also help to shed light on the history of the various restorations that have taken place throughout its history, identifying features that have been added to the ship during the intervening years.
Several hundred complete paint samples have been removed from various key locations throughout the interior spaces covering all decks from the hold and orlop decks in the lower levels, right up to the Quarter and Poop decks on the upper levels. Although the vast majority of the ships external timbers have been replaced relatively recently it is believed that some of the early (and possibly original) timbers survive below decks - particularly at the lower levels. A careful and scientific examination of the removed samples will shed light on the interior colours and types of paint used throughout and help to identify those features that are later additions, helping to build up a picture of how the interior spaces have evolved over time.