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Navy Board Ship Models (Hardback)

Maritime Seaforth ShipCraft Naval

By Nick Ball, Simon Stephens
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 300
ISBN: 9781526701114
Published: 15th October 2018

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From about the middle of the seventeenth century the Navy’s administrators began to commission models of their ships that were accurately detailed and, for the first time, systematically to scale. These developed a recognised style, which included features like the unplanked lower hull with a simplified pattern of framing that emphasised the shape of the underwater body. Exquisitely crafted, these were always rare and highly prized objects – indeed, Samuel Pepys expressed a profound desire to own one – and today they are widely regarded as the acme of the ship modeller’s art.

Today examples form the highlights of collections across the world, valued both as art objects and as potential historical evidence on matters of ship design. However, it was only recently that researchers began to investigate the circumstances of their construction, their function, and the identities of those who made them. This book, by two curators who have worked on the world’s largest collection of these models at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, summarises the current state of knowledge, outlines important discoveries, and applies this new-found understanding to many of the finest models in the collection.

As befits its subject, Navy Board Ship Models is visually striking, with numerous colour photographs that make it as attractive as it is informative to anyone with an interest in modelmaking or historic ships.

The authors are eminently qualified to cover this important subject. Simon Stephens is Curator of Ship Models and Boats at the National Maritime Museum and Nick Ball is Archeological Data Manager at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth. Between them they have produced a very beautiful book that is well-written and informative as well as superbly illustrated; an indispensable volume for anyone interested in naval ships of the period or in the peak of modelling skills portraying the sailing navy.

Nautical Research Journal, Summer 2019 – reviewed by Roger Marsh Killaloe, Co. Clare, Ireland

This volume rightly takes its place among books that interested readers, historians, modelers, and collectors will want to own.

The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord, XXIX, No. 2 (Summer 2019) – reviewed by Gina Granados Palmer Newport, Rhode Island

The visual section of the work is really praiseworthy, since the quality of the photographs makes clear the interest placed on them. The volume contains 7 sheets with detailed drawings, 6 photographs in black and white and the astonishing amount of 401 images in color.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Beautifully presented and lavishly illustrated with stunning colour photography throughout.

Model Boats, January 2019 - reviewed by John Deamer

About Nick Ball

SIMON STEPHENS and NICK BALL are curators at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Simon is head of the ship models department and the author of the catalogue of ship models in the Thomson Collection of the Ontario Art Gallery.


About Simon Stephens

SIMON STEPHENS and NICK BALL are curators at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Simon is head of the ship models department and the author of the catalogue of ship models in the Thomson Collection of the Ontario Art Gallery.

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