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British Warship Recognition: The Perkins Identification Albums (Hardback)

Volume IV: Cruisers 1865-1939, Part 2

Seaforth Naval DVDs

By Richard Perkins
Seaforth Publishing
Series: Perkins Indentification Albums
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781473891494
Published: 14th June 2017


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The Richard Perkins warship identification albums form one of the most detailed studies ever undertaken of the changes to the appearance of Royal Navy ships. However, it is a unique hand-drawn manuscript artefact in the care of the National Maritime Museum, so despite its value it is rarely seen by anyone besides the museum's curators, for whom it is a precious resource, used on an almost daily basis.

In collaboration with the Museum, Seaforth is undertaking the first publication of this monumental work in a superbly produced multi-volume edition that captures all the qualities of the original. Every page is reproduced at full size, making the extensive hand-written annotation readable, while the fine-line drawings retain all the colours that Perkins used to denote appearance differences and alterations.

Following the Museum's binding arrangement, the fourth volume of the series completes the coverage of all cruiser-type ships down to the Belfast class of 1939 begun in Volume III. This second part includes most of the smaller cruisers from about 1916 back to the Amazon class corvettes of 1865.

This is a publishing event of the utmost importance for every enthusiast and ship modeller, who for the first time will be able to own a copy of a unique and invaluable reference work.

As with the previous volumes, the standard of reproduction of Perkin's original watercolours is superb in this beautifully produced volume which is excellent value for money.
An outstanding volume which deserves to be on the bookshelf of all those interested in the Royal Navy.

Marine News

This unique hand-drawn manuscript was donated to, and is now being published in association with, the National Maritime Museum in a multi-volume edition that captures all the qualities of the original. This second part of Volume IV includes most of the smaller cruisers from about 1916 back to the Amazon class corvettes of 1865.

Every page is reproduced at full size - the book is in portrait format and measures 40.3cm x 31cm - making the extensive hand-written annotation readable, while the fine-line drawings retain all the colours that Perkins used to denote differences in appearance and alterations.

Ships Monthly, January 2018

With such detailed information it should be possible to identify and date photographs of the subject ships throughout their lives up to 1939. This feature of the original albums has been an invaluable resource at the National Maritime Museum’s photograph archive at Woolwich for many years and I can imagine that anyone with an interest in the development of the warships of this period, or with a collection of photographs to identify and catalogue more accurately will find this volume an important addition to their bookshelves. Yes it is expensive but for a recommended retail price that equates to dinner for one at a good restaurant you get a lot of information, coloured drawings that have been reproduced to a high quality and fascinating detail sketches. I value my copy and recommend this new volume of a unique series highly.

Read the complete review here.

Australian Naval Institute, David Hobbs

The pages are high quality reproductions of the original pages of the Perkins albums and the highly information it contains is amazing. Not just a single profile of individual ships, but many have extra notes and a series of pictures illustrating detail such as the mast arrangements, shape of the bridge etc as they varied between ships in the class and as they were changed during their service life. Even the neatly written text notes show changes as the author added or updated notes over time. What you have is very much a 'bible' of help to identify not only individual ships in archive photos, but also to indicate what year it shows the vessel. Individually the book is a delight to see by itself and as the growing set a magnificent reference.

Read the complete review here.

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

The work is unique and, by virtue of its accuracy, authority, and the sheer volume of detail, it fills a very important gap in British naval history. It well-deserves inspection.

NZ Crown Mines

This volume continues the coverage of cruisers begun in Volume III. – This is a reproduction of the set of eight volumes held by the British National Maritime Museum where it has provided an unparalleled source of information for the Museum’s staff – Most Recommended.

Read the full review here.


A very elegant rendition of a comprehensive set of detailed watercolours of early Royal Navy cruisers depicting each as she changed throughout her life...

Seaforth are yet again to be congratulated for bringing to the public another extraordinary gem from the NMM's otherwise unseen treasure house, and for doing so in such an elegant style.

Robert Griffiths, Seaweed

NOTE: reviewed alongside volume III

Both books are a wonderful addition to a naval book collection.

Click here to read the review in its entirety

Thomo's Hole - reviewed by Ian Thompson

A well produced and substantial collection which is an invaluable reference work.

Mariners Mirror

About Richard Perkins

RICHARD PERKINS originally produced what he called his ‘Historical Identification Book’ to help identify and date photos in his monumental collection, but its wider significance is highlighted in this edition by an Introduction by ANDREW CHOONG, a curator at the National Maritime Museum for whom the albums are an indispensible reference

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