Scale model of HMS Victory currently on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square

A charity has launched a campaign to save the biggest ship in a bottle ever built from becoming a millionaire’s garden ornament.

The scale model of HMS Victory, built by Yinka Shonibare, is currently displayed on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square.

When it’s removed in January, Nelson’s ship in a bottle will need a new home. If the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich can’t stump up the £650,00 fee for the art, it could be sold to an anonymous millionaire willing to pay double that.

“This is a bargain price, a huge discount,” said the Turner-prize nominated artist. “I did have interest from a very wealthy South Korean, who would have put it in his garden – but I thought I would wait for a better offer.”

According to the Guardian, the ‘better offer’ was the opportunity for the art to remain in the public domain.

The Art Fund charity had launched their first ever campaign to acquire a contemporary work, pledging £50,000 to kick-start fundraising efforts. Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said just 70,000 text message donations of £5 each would generate enough money to keep the art in a public place.

Photo by Christine Matthews.