In the sailing era First Rates were the largest, most powerful and most costly ships to construct, maintain and operate. Built to the highest standards, they were lavishly decorated and given carefully considered names that reflected the pride and prestige of their country. They were the very embodiment of national power, and as such drew the attention of artists, engravers and printmakers. This means that virtually every British First Rate from the Prince Royal of 1610 to the end of sail is represented by an array of paintings, drawings, models or plans.
This book is a celebration of these magnificent ships, combining an authoritative history of their development with reproductions of many of the best (and least familiar) images of the ships, chosen for their accuracy, detail and sheer visual power in an extra-large format that does full justice to the images themselves. It also includes comparative data on similar vessels in other navies, so it is a book that everyone with an interest in wooden warships will find both enlightening and a pleasure to peruse.
RIF WINFIELD is best known for his incredibly detailed three-volume series British Warships in the Age of Sail, published between 2005 and 2009, which covers every Royal Navy vessel built, purchased or captured between 1603 and 1817.
The book covers the main eras of the age of sail, starting with the Caroline navy, through Commonwealth, Restoration and the French and Napoleonic wars, and culminates in the steam – powered wooden battleships of... [read full review]Warship – Naval Books of the Year
Each chapter is lavishly illustrated with well chosen paintings, etchings and photographs. The reproduction of the illustrations themselves is, without exception, superb. This book should appeal to the widest audience, from those whose interest lies... [read full review]Shipwright Annual
The book is oversized to accommodate the many illustrations provided to enrich the accompanying text. This book will appeal to anyone interested in the sailing navy, as the details of the shipbuilding, dockyard organisation,... [read full review]The Northern Mariner - Dec 2011
This large format, lavishly-illustrated volume is a celebration of these superb ships and combines an authoritative account of their development with an excellent array of images which bring the story to life. Recommended to all... [read full review]Marine News
First Rate tracks the evolution of the Royal Navy's largest and most impressive sailing warships. Richly illustrated with paintings, drawings, photos of models and plans, this is a fascinating journey in print across the development... [read full review]Warships International Fleet Review
This book covers the period of 1610 to 1850, and discusses over 60 different warships in the great age of sail. It is an immensely detailed reference work, and in its 11 chapters describes some... [read full review]Book Shelf
It is a rare occurrence indeed to have the great pleasure of receiving quite such a magnificent large-format volume such as this, Rif Winfield's First Rate, arriving on one's desk for review.
The striking and... [read full review]Roger Marsh, Ships in Scale
I believe that every ship modeler from the beginner to the master craftsman, should strive to know as much as possible about the ship they're building and its place in history. The more you know,... [read full review]Bob Friedman
Rif Winfield, a maritime historian who concentrates his studies on warships during the Age of Sail, gives readers a unique and up-close look into the largest and most powerful vessels, the First Rates, in the... [read full review]Cindy Vallar, Pirates and Privateers
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About Rif Winfield
Rif Winfield has worked in the shipping and computer industries, has been for many years a charity director, has operated his own retail businesses (with his wife Ann), and has been a candidate for elections to Parliament and other levels of government, including serving as an elected Councillor and being appointed to government posts in health and in local government. A life-long researcher into naval history, he lives in Mid Wales and is the author of a number of standard works on the ships of the British Navy.
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