The Sailing Frigate (Hardback)

A History in Ship Models

Ship Modelling All Seaforth Books Modelling Books Colour Books

By Robert Gardiner
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781848321601
Published: 15th January 2013


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The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich houses the largest collection of scale ship models in the world, many of which are official, contemporary artefacts made by the craftsmen of the navy or the shipbuilders themselves, and ranging from the mid seventeenth century to the present day. As such they represent a three-dimensional archive of unique importance and authority. Treated as historical evidence, they offer more detail than even the best plans, and demonstrate exactly what the ships looked like in a way that even the finest marine painter could not achieve.

This book is the first of a series which will take selections of the best models to tell the story of specific ship types – in this case, the evolution of the cruising ship under sail. Each volume reproduces a large number of model photos, all in full colour, and including many close-up and detail views. These are captioned in depth, but many are also annotated to focus attention on interesting or unusual features. Although pictorial in emphasis, the book weaves the pictures into an authoritative text, producing an unusual and attractive form of technical history.

While the series will be of particular interest to ship modellers, all those with an interest in ship design and development will attracted to the in-depth analysis of these beautifully presented books.

Full colour photographs of the selected models provides an enormous amount of visual detail for the historian, the model maker and all those interested in the design and development of sailing ships.
The author has taken the sailing frigate as the subject for this first book and the illustration is outstanding. The frigate was a vital type of warship in the Georgian Royal Navy. It provided reconnaissance, it supported the line of battle, and it was used for a diverse range of duties around the world, often a single frigate operation without support or direction on the other side of the world. Sailing on the eve of war, or on the dawn of a new truce, only to arrive in its operating area as a new war had started, or and older war ended.
The selected models depict the range and evolution of the frigate in Royal Navy service. Extended captions and introductory text is well-written and highlights features of each model. The beautiful illustration can be appreciated as art and the highest production standards have been achieved. This book should become very popular with all those who have an interest in ships, in design, and in technology.


Very informative and comprehensively illustrated sections on various aspects of frigate design and development are also found here…
In full colour throughout, excellently written as one would expect and illustrated by superb large photos of models from the NMM’s fabulous collection as it is, this is visually a beautiful book as well as one offering a goldmine of information to modelers, to naval historians and to anyone interested in the cruising ships of the sailing navy of the 17th-19th Centuries. It is the first volume of a series planned by Robert Gardiner’s own Seaforth Publishing which has the aim of telling the story of a number of specific sailing warship types through the unexcelled contemporary model collection of the NMM, so we can look forward with eager anticipation to future publications in the series.

Ships in Scale, March/ April 2013

A history in Ship Models. Illustrated from the Collections of the National Maritime Museum" by Robert Gardiner. A beautiful book, an excellent history.


This is the first in a series of books to use the models at the National Maritime Museum to chart the complex and sometimes wayward search for the most effective frigate. This edition focuses on the evolution of the cruising ship under sail. It would be a valuable reference source for any modeller undertaking the construction of a sailing frigate, as it contains a vast wealth of general and close up pictures of models at the museum. These pictures build to give an almost 3-D view of the craft. The author also explains many of the unusual terms, like pink stern, applied to these frigates. There is also a wealth of detail on planking both hulls and decks together with some information on armaments and rigging.

Marine Model magazine – May 2013

Another fine work from one of the world's leading experts on such matters. Gardiner offers an exquisite book, which tells the history of the sailing frigate from private yacht to its final form, through over 100 colour photographs - some in closeup - with notes, captions and an authoritative text.

Warships Magazine

An extensively researched book full of insight and a wealth of detail. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the era of sail.

The Naval Review

Although the book is a general history, the author manages the mean feat of packing an astonishing amount of detailed information into it... He also makes extensive use of detail photographs with very precise captions to reveal even more information, a technique that educates the reader's eye. It is an important contribution that will be valuable both to specialists and general readers alike.

Nautical Research Journal
Perfect Partner

Figureheads of the Royal Navy (Hardback)

The first figureheads that were carved to represent the names of British warships appeared during the reign of Henry VIII; the last ones were carved in the early years of the twentieth century. During the intervening three hundred and fifty years it is estimated that some 5000 ships of the Royal Navy carried a figurehead of some description. This book follows the development of these diverse carvings, examining how the figurehead carvers interpreted the names and the symbolism incorporated in their designs. Evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources: contemporary ship models, ship plans, designs…

By David Pulvertaft

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