This is an overview on literature about model
ship building and specific plans for some ships. There are two
outstanding books I would recommend for beginners (and for advanced
builders as reference work):
Wolfram zu Mondfeld, Historic Ship Models, Sterling
Publishing 1989, ISBN 0806957336,
Orazio Curti, Enzyklopaedie des Schiffsmodellbaus, Delius Klasing Verlag, 1992, ISBN 3-7688-0770-3
(in German, unfortunately I could not find an English translation, although this book seems to be translated from the original Italian Modelli Navali into many languages: Modeles Reduits, Encyclopedie Du Modelisme Naval; Il Grande libro dei Modelli Navali; Het Scheepsmodel: Tuigage en Uitrusting).
A more detailed list of books on specific topics is further down this page.
Many of the ship models in this website are based on kits, whose plans and materials were modified more or less by the model ship builders. A beginner should always start with a kit of a smaller model.
Model ship kits, fittings, pieces, and materials by several kit makers (Calder Craft, Corel, Mantua-Sergal, Panart, Mamoli, Amati, Artesania Latina, Aeronaut, Billing Boats etc.) you can buy from many local retailers or internet shops. In addition, it is worthwhile to get the original catalogues of the kit makers.
Plans of ships and ship models you can buy from Christian Schmidt Fachbuchhandlung, Sauerbruchstr. 10, D-81377 Muenchen, Germany and from many museums, such as the Musée de la Marine in Paris or the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
There are two mail order firms that are second hand bookshops with large stocks of maritime literature:
Walter F. E. Andraeas, Antiquariat Andraeas, Marine- u. Militaerwissenschaftliches Antiquariat, Klosterwisch 9, D-22359 Hamburg, Germany, Tel. +49 40 6031922,
Jutta Breede, Die See, das Schiff, die Fahrt - antiquarischer Buchversand, Gießener Str. 13, D-28215 Bremen, Germany, Tel. +49 421 374632.
Other links on model ship making and maritime topics
Arbeitskreis Historischer Schiffbau - the homepage of the German model ship builder clubs.
I like to have a look at several webpages and journals from time to time:
Modelship World Forum Web Site
There is lots of detailed information available on the Flags Of The World.
Very beautiful ship models, somewhat larger than usual (1.5 - 2 m) and somewhat more expensive, you can find (in French and English) at Olivier Bello : Arsenal Modelism.
Very fine ship models in 1 : 400 scale by
Productions, CH - 2943 Vendlincourt, Switzerland
Here are some other fine ship models by Russian modellers (http://www.shipmodels.com.ua/).
At scalemodel.net you find many scale model related web sites
If you could't find what you are looking for, try The mother of all maritime link lists, a claim that might be true. Operated by John Kohnen in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
Helpful literature on specific topics I appreciated:
Peter Neill, Great Maritime Museums of the World, Balsam Press Inc., New York 1991, ISBN 0-917439-12-0, many photos of models and original ships, paintings, other exhibits. Description of the museums, also useful in travel preparation.
The VASA Museum, Stockholm. Museum brochure with wonderful pictures of the salvation of the VASA, her hull in the museum and her carved ornaments. Contemporary drawings and sketches of her construction. In the museum you can buy a treatise by Curt Borgenstam, Anders Sandstroem, Why VASA Capsized, AB Grafisk Press, Stockholm 1995, ISBN 91-85268-60-7.
Staff of the Musée National de la Marine in Paris, Treasures of the Musée National de la Marine, Éditiones de la Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris 2006, ISBN 2-7118-5096-X. Selection of the museum's exhibits, with excellent photos and good explanations. Ship models, paintings etc.
Contemporary paintings, drawings, and sketches of historic ships
Alan Russett, "Dominic Serres R.A. 1719 - 1793, War Artist to the Navy", The Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk 2001, ISBN 1 85149 360 3. First-class reproductions of the paintings. In connection with the very detailed index one can conduct an easy search for paintings on ships and historic events.
Jeron Giltaij, Jan Kelch, Herren der Meere - Meister der Kunst, Das hollaendische Seebild im 17. Jahrhundert, Catalogue (in German) to the exhibition of 17th century Dutch maritime painters in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam, 21 December 1996 till 23 February 1997, and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemaeldegalerie im Bodemuseum, 21 March till 25 May 1997. First-class large-size reproductions of the paintings and detailed comments.
E.H.H. Archibald, The Dictionary of Sea Painters of Europe and America, The Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk, England 2000, ISBN 1 85149 269 0, also well done reprints and good explanations.
David Joel, "Charles Brooking 1723 - 1759 an the 18th Century British Marine Painters", The Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk, England 2000, ISBN 1 85149 277 1, beautiful paintings, that are reprinted finely enough (as in the other books on paintings cited here) to show model ship builders in many details how the ships looked those days.
F. B. Cockett, Early Sea Painters 1660 - 1730, The Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk, England 1995, ISBN 1851492305, nice paintings that are reprinted finely enough (as in the other books on paintings cited here) to show model ship builders in many details how the ships looked those days.
F. B. Cockett, Peter Monamy 1681 - 1749 and His Circle, The Antique Collectors' Club, Suffolk, England 2000, ISBN 1851493395, nice paintings that are reprinted finely enough (as in the other books on paintings cited here) to show model ship builders in many details how the ships looked those days.
Michael E.Leek, The Art of Nautical Illustration. A Visual Tribute to the Achievements of the Classic Marine Illustrators, Greenwich Editions 1998, ISBN 0-86288-123-4.
John Harland, Ships & Seamanship, The Maritime Prints of J J Baugean, Chatham Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 1 86176 143 0. Many sketches from the beginning of the 19th century, with short explanations of the scenery.
Musée des Beaux-Arts Rouen, Autour de Claude-Joseph Vernet - La Marine à voile de 1650 à 1850, Éditions Anthèse, Arcueil, France, ISBN 291225709-3 (in French). Many paintings of the French maritime world, with explanations. Many works of Claude Vernet (1714 - 1789).
Photos of modern and historic sailing ships or their replicas
Otmar Schäuffelen, Die letzten grossen Segelschiffe, Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefeld 1997, ISBN 3-7688-0483-6, (in German) many photos, also from replicas of historic ships, and comments on ship history and today's situation (mostly use as museum ship etc).
Franco Gioretti, Sailing Ships, White Star S.r.l., Vercelli, Italy 2001, ISBN 1-58663-231-0, many paintings, drawings, sketches, and photos of historic and today's sail.
Neil Hollander, Harald Mertes, The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail, Smithmark Pub 1987, ISBN 0312471394. Many impressive photos of the last working sailors in India, Brasilia, Egypt, Sri Lanka etc.
Beken of Cowes, A Hundred Years of Sail, HarperCollins Publishers 1997, ISBN 1860462537. Legendary photos of the great yachts at Cowes since 1880.
Morris and Stanley Rosenfeld, Segel im Wind, Edition Maritim 1999, ISBN 3-89225-398-6 (in German). Wonderful photos of yachts, working sails, regattas and the America's Cup ships from the 1880s till the 1960s. Legendary photos, impressive, excellent reprints.
There seems to be no English translation of this book, but an Italian original publication: Vele e Velieri. There are other books with photographs by the Rosenfelds in English - I assume that they have similar contents.
Morris and Stanley Rosenfeld, A Century under Sail, copyright by Stanley Rosenfeld, printed in China 2001, ISBN 0-939510-71-5, wonderful photos of the yachts at America's coast, from 1884. Many close-up views, with details.
Alan Villiers, Sons of Sinbad.
A wonderful report and many fine photos of a voyage in 1938/1939 with a deep-sea dhow from Kuwait down the east coast of Africa to Zanzibar and back to her home port. Alan Villiers gave a vivid, detailed description of the voyage, the events, the ports, the seas, his shipmates and their sail handling and navigation techniques. The Kuwaiti boom was a 150 tons ship measuring 21 m on the maindeck with two masts that carried a lateen rig. She was an almost pure survival from Phoenician days, from the most ancient sailing known to man.
With his excellent knowledge of seamanship he could give full justice to the Arab sailors and their long tradition.
Unfortunately you need two books to make full use of this rare description: the voyage report and the photographs.
a) Alan Villiers, Sons of Sinbad, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1969, Library of Congress Catalog Number 69-17039, 414 pages, a revised edition of the original book of 1940. It has the detailed voyage description and 50 (poorly printed) photographs and maps.
b) Alan Villiers, Sons of Sinbad - The Photographs. Selected and introduced by William Facey, Yacoub Al-Hijji and Grace Pundyk, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London 2006, ISBN 978 0 948065 75 0. Large format high quality print 34 cm by 26 cm, 224 pages.
Being a sailor I have long asked myself how the huge lateen yards were handled in tacking and wearing. After many years of futile looking I finally found some answers in Villiers notes. I give three quotations from the voyage report:
a) page 31 "... We wore ship twice a day, usually, ate three meals, prayed the stipulated five times (at least the Arabs did), and minded our own business. We always wore round when going on the other tack, instead of tacking, for the lateen sail is dangerous when taken aback. The huge mainmast was supported largely by his own strength. As in all Arab ships, there was no standing rigging. Its only support were some movable tackles, always set up to windward and let go when the ship was being put about. The main halliards, which let aft, acted as a backstay. So we always wore her round, running off with the wind behind the sail, and swinging the huge yard when she was dead before the wind. Whenever the sailors did this I watched most carefully, for it was a complicated and difficult process. The whole sail was thrown over, the sheet and the tack changing end for end, and the maneuver had to be done carefully when there was anything of a wind lest the sail take charge. But she was a handy ship and a very responsive one, for all the unwieldiness of the huge mainsail, and her crew certainly knew their business."
b) page 48 "... Once we tacked. It was the only time I saw the big boom put about head to wind in all the time I was on board. Hamed would not have done it then had not the tide suddenly turned as he was standing very close to weather a low spit of land, jutting out from a place where once a river might have flowed. We were too close; and the ship was being set ashore. I was glad ... to see Hamed take her round. He did not get excited (though he sometimes did). He murmured an order quietly: the quartermaster at the wheel yelled it: all hands sprang to their stations. They all had their stations for wearing ship, and they were on the same posts for tacking. Now down came the mizzen on the run. The quartermaster, at a nod from Hamed, who was standing up on the cutter by the david heads, eased the helm down. She responded at once, putting her long nose into the wind. By that time we were perilously close inshore, right in the shallowing water and watching the shelving sand, just outside the breakers' line. But she came all right. She answered her helm beautifully, and the big lateen sail proved a well-balanced rig. She turned on her heel and carried round with her own way, even the huge sail was full aback.
This was an awkward moment, for if she gathered sternway she
was finished then. She did not. She kept her head and came round
handsomely, though the business of handling the backed mainsail and awkward
tripping of the great lateen yard with all the pressure of the wind trying to
break it were extremely difficult maneuvers. The mainsail, which like all Arab
sails had no gear on it whatever, wrapped itself in huge awkward folds between
the yard and the raking mast and did its best to become entangled with all the
gear - the mast tackles, the halliards, the shrouds. Out of this mood of wild
recalcitrance the sweating crew had immense difficulty in getting it: they
kept a savage chanting and singing the whole time while the canvas boomed and
the mast creaked and the yard swayed, and the noise of the breakers close by
was ominous and unending. I feared that the lateen yard must break, for with
the sail aback all the pressure of the wind was against it, and the
unsupported mast could easily have come down. It was a complicated and
exceedingly dangerous piece of seamanship, and nothing but sheer manpower got
the great mainsail back under control. It was a piece of canvas 130 feet on
the head, with a luff of well over 90 feet and a foot a hundred feet long. It
was well over six thousand square feet of canvas - an enormous sail, as it had
to be when it was the main motive power of a ship of 150 tons. I was glad then
that we had such a large crew, for there was work enough for all of them. Only
the fighting spirit of the crew curbed and controlled that fighting, thrashing
piece of canvas; and it had to be done carefully, too, lest the weak seams
split, and the ship should be left there in that dangerous situation with her
sail unfit for use.
It was well done and I was glad I saw it, but I did not wonder that we never tacked again. I could appreciate the Arabs' reluctance to go about head-to-wind, and I began to think the lateen a useful sail only in fair winds. That is the way the Arabs try to use it: with any winds other than the monsoon, lateen-rigged ship could not safely keep the seas."
c) page 257 "... The westerly wind brought rain, and in one of these rain squalls the wind jumped twelve points. It was a freak squall, and a really nasty for the moment. As in all lateen-rigged craft the tack of the sail had to be windward, and this sudden shift made it necessary to dip the yard. ... To dip the yard, the great sail bent to it had to be allowed practically to get out of control, for the yard had to be brought in vertically to the mast and swung across to the other side, while the whole of the sail took a turn in itself over the yard, the mainsheet going over - or, more properly, right around - to the other side, at the same time as the tack was dipped across."
Photos of ship models, building ship models
Jean Boudriot, Modeles Historiques, Musée de la Marine, ISBN
2 903 179-24, A.N.C.R.E. Paris 1997 (in French), excellent photos of exhibits
in the French maritime museums, with detailed explanations.
There is an English translation: Historic Ship's Models in the Musée de la Marine, translated by David Roberts. See Editions ANCRE .
So far only in French available, but very interesting with beautiful photos, too: Volume 2 on more ship models: Tome II, A.N.C.R.E. Nice 2006, ISBN 2 903179-43-3.
Bernard Frölich, The Art of Shipmodelling, The Navy of Sailing Ships 1680 - 1820, A.N.C.R.E. Nice 2002, ISBN 2 903 179-24-7, excellent photos and comprehensive guide. See Editions ANCRE .
Karl-Heinz Marquardt, Eighteenth-century Rigs and Rigging, Conway Maritime Press, London 1992, ISBN 0851775861. Very detailed information on masting and rigging, compiled from a range of contemporary and modern works. The best I ever found.
Philip Reed, Modelling Sailing Men-of-War, an Illustrated Step-by-Step Manual, Chatham Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 1-55750-444-X. Very detailed stepwise documentation of the making of a 74-gun-ship. 400 photos.
Jean Boudriot, Hubert Berti, Chebec Le Requin 1750 du constructeur majorquin Joseph Caubet, A.N.C.R.E. Paris 1987, ISBN 2-903 179-07-7. Description of the chebec, many contemporary sketches, 22 plans in 1 : 48 scale. Included is an English translation by David H. Roberts "XEBEC LE REQUIN 1750" of the text in a separate brochure.
Timothy Wilson, Flags at Sea, National Maritime Press, Annapolis, Maryland 1986, ISBN 1-55750-296-X.
Alfred Znamierowski, The World Encyclopedia of Flags, Lorenz Books 2005, ISBN 0754814432. Together with the book of Wilson a very good introduction. Detailed descriptions.
Contemporary books on historic ship building (available reprints)
Frederik Henrik af Chapman, Architectura Navalis Mercatoria, Stockholm 1768. Reprint and translation into German: VEB Hinsdorff Verlag Rostock, 1968, with 62 original plans and comments on ship building. Theoretical considerations of that time. Excellent books with plans to check model ship plans. The classic work. - I am sure that you can find reprints of English translations, some of them being antiques themselves.
All of Chapman's drawings (plates) in his Architectura
Navalis Mercatoria are available for download at the websiite of the Stockholm
Maritime Museum (Sjöhistoriska Museet):
Album de Colbert, 1670. Reprint by Editions Omega, Nice, 1988. The fifty plates of the "ALBUM DE COLBERT" are the only illustrated document bearing witness to the ambition of Louis XIV in the 1660s to create a navy which would be for some years the most powerful in the world. The 50 plates show every stage of the building of an 80-gun-ship. Comments on the plans in French, English translations in supplement.
Marmaduke Stalkartt, Naval Architecture or The Rudiments and Rules of Ship Building. Exemplified in a Series of Draughts and Plans with Observations. J. Boydell Cheapside, London, 1787. Facsimile reprint by Jean Boudriot Publications, 1991. Description and plans of a 74-gun-ship, a 44-gun-ship and five smaller ships. Remarkable are print type and wording of the text: "IT is needless to offer any apology for the Publication of this Treatise. The Importance of Ship-building is at this day sufficiently understood to justify the present attempt. Men of all professions feel themselves interested ...."
Trade card of 18th century ship modeller Allen Hunt, Southwark. Copyright: Science Museum, London
Amiral Paris, Souvenirs de la marine. Collections de plans ou dessins de navires et de bateaux anciens ou modernes, 1871 (in French). Reprint by: Editions des 4 Seigneurs, Grenoble 1975. Very detailed large scale plans, metric scale, of sail in 18th and 19th century. Very good work to check plans of ship models.
The Anthony Roll of Henry VIII's Navy, edited by C.S. Knighton and D.M. Loades. Pepys Library 2991 and British Library Additional MS 22047 with related documents. Published by Ashgate for the Navy Records Society, Hants, England, 2000, ISBN 0 7546 0094 7. In the last year of the reign of Henry VIII an officer of the ordnance, Anthony Anthony, compiled a complete visual record of the royal ships. 58 ships are represented in illustrations. Accompanying texts on tonnage, crew, weapons and munitions are printed in their original spelling.
Also in the book are articles on the history of the Anthony Roll, the ordnance in the beginning of the 16th century, and naval technology of that time. In this publication the complete set of 58 illustrations is printed for the first time. Unfortunately one cannot expect that the illustrations were portraits of individual ships. There are many obvious distortions and discrepancies between illustrations and texts. The reason for this is not known. Maybe it was the wish of Henry VIII to impress royal visitors with this compilation of the royal navy ships. All in all an interesting book.
Darcy Lever, The Young Sea Officers Sheet Anchor - or a Key to the Leading of Rigging and to Practical Seamanship, 2nd edition published by John Richardson, London 1819. Unabridged reprint by Dover Publications, Mineola, New York 1998, with a forward by John D. Harland. ISBN 0486402207. Systematic detailed description of building and operating rigging and sails, and ship handling in various circumstances. Many drawings.
Friedrich Ludwig Middendorf, Bemastung und Takelung der Schiffe (Arrangement of the Masts and Rigging), 1903, in German. Reprint of 2010 by Salzwasserverlag, Bremen, ISBN 978-3-86195-561-0. Explanation of foundations of displacement, buoyancy and stability, deadweight and center of gravity of ship and cargo, calculation the sail moment. Many calculation examples for all types of ships, ranging from five-masted fullrigged ship to four-masted barque, schooner, brig and cutter.
Today's books on historic ship building
László Veres, Richard Woodman, The Story of Sail: Illustrated with over 1000 Scale Drawings. Naval Institute Press 1999, ISBN 1557508968. Drawings in metric and feet scale. Plans of hulls and rigging. Very good overview on ship and boat types.
Björn Landström, The Ship. An Illustrated History. Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York 1961. Beautiful drawings and many comments on the development of ship building. An ongoing classic work.
James Dodds, James Moore, Building the Wooden Fighting Ship, Hutchinson & Co., London 1984, ISBN 00915112506. Excellently researched and detailed illustrated description of the building of H.M.S. Thunderer, a two-decker ship of the line, 74 guns, launched in 1760. Every stage of building is described and represented by many drawings, thus giving a picture of work and life in a 18th century shipyard.
Four books on masting and rigging:
a) James Lees, The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War 1625 - 1860, Conway Maritime Press, London, Revised Edition 1984, ISBN 0 85177 290 0. Very detailed and comprehensive description of the change of rig over time. Many drawings and close up photographs of contemporary models. The book was written after Lees' 15 years of work as the senior conservation officer at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Excellent treatise, the best I found on this subject.
b) Lennarth Petersson, Rigging Period Ship Models, Chatham Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 1 55750 970 0. Very detailed drawings of the rigging and belaying plans of a contemporary frigate model in the Bristol Industrial Museum: the Melamptus, a 36 gun, 18 pounder frigate of 1785. Excellent. As the works concentrates on only one ship, it can be even more detailed the Lees' work (above).
c) Lennarth Petersson, Rigging Period Fore-and-Aft Craft, Chatham Publishing, London 2007, ISBN 978 1 59114 721 3. Very detailed drawings of the rigging and belaying plans of three contemporary models: a naval cutter of the second half of the eighteenth century (London Science Museum), a French lugger of 1800 (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich), a typical American Schooner of the early 1800s (based on a model in the Naval Museum in Karlskrona, Sweden, the model bearing a close resemblance to the schooner Experiment that was built 1808 in New York and sold to the Swedish Navy). As excellent as Petersson's other work (above).
d) John Harland, Seamanship in the Age of Sail. An account of the shiphandling of the sailing man-of-war 1600 - 1860, based on contemporary sources. Conway Maritime Press, London 1984, ISBN 0-87021-955-3. Excellently researched book with many drawings and reprints of paintings on the topic. Detailed description how maneuvers were actually carried out and how sails were operated. Very useful for anybody who wants his model's sails set according to a specific wind direction.
Howard Irving Chapelle, The History of the American Sailing Navy, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York 1949, ISBN 0517004879. Complete history of the sailing men-of-war of the US Navy, starting with the colonial period of the 1600s till the last years of sail around 1855. Sound description of naval architecture, hundreds of plans, with specifics of developments explained in detail. The classic work on the sailing Navy.
Joseph Wheatley, Historic Sail, The Glory of the Sailing Ship from the 13th to the 19th Century, Greenhill Books, London 2000, ISBN 1-85367-399-4, Very fine and detailed beautiful drawings.
Frank Howard, Sailing Ships of War, 1400 to 1860, Rutledge Pr 1980, ISBN 0831776560, detailed description of the development over the centuries. Many drawings and paintings.
Bernard Crochet, Geschichte der Schiffahrt, Verlag Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 1995, ISBN 3-7688-0912-9 (in German). History of ship building from ancient Egyptians till today. Many illustrations. There seems to be no English translation. The title of the French original is: Bateaux de toujours: Des témoins de l'histoire, ISBN: 2035062195.
David R MacGregor, The Schooner, Its Design and Development from 1600 to the Present, Chatham Publishing London 1997, ISBN 1 86176 020 5.
Karl Heinz Marquardt, The Global Schooner, Origins, Development, Design and Construction 1695 - 1845, Conway Maritime Press, London 2003, ISBN 0 85177 930 1.
David R MacGregor, Fast Sailing Ships: Their Design and Construction, 1775-1875, Nautical Pub. Co (1973) , ISBN: 0245519645. Very detailed and thorough explanations, many illustrations.
Gabriele Hoffmann, Uwe Schnall, Die Kogge - Sternstunde der deutschen Schiffsarchaeologie. Convent Verlag, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-934613-50-0 (in German). Description of the 1962 discovery, salvation, restoration and reconstruction of the cog in Bremen. Role of the cogs in the Hansa. Evaluation of ship technology. Many photos of the replicas built under sail.
There seems to be no English translation.
Jean Boudriot, Hubert Berti, The History of the French Frigate, Jean Boudriot Publications, Rotherfield, East Sussex, England 1993, ISBN 0948864-15-X. Translated by David H. Roberts. Lots of detailed information on marine technology development and on individual ships.
David Childs, The Warship Mary Rose, The Life and Times of King Henry VIII's Flagship, Chatham Publishing, London 2007, ISBN 978 1 86176 267 2. In 1982 the remaining parts of the hull of the Mary Rose were salvaged in Portsmouth harbour. The Mary Rose sank there in 1545 when she was part of Henry VIII's fleet in his battle with the French. The book tells the story of her construction and her role in the navy and the Tudor politics. Very much detailed information and contemporary paintings. Worthwhile, too, is a visit of the excellent Mary Rose Museum (with many artefacts salvaged with the hull) and the remains of the hull in Portsmouth.
Ole Crumlin-Pedersen, Olaf Olson, The Skuldelev Ships I, Topography, Archaeology, History, Conservation and Display, The Viking Ship Museum Roskilde 2002, ISBN 8785180467. Description of discovery, salvage, conservation and museum display of the five Viking ships that were found 1962 in the Roskilde Fjord near Skuldelev. Very fine detailed work, with plans of the boats printed in 1 : 80 scale that are suitable to build models of the ships.
Keith Durham, Viking Longship, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, UK 2002, ISBN 978 1 84176 349 1. Detailed photos and drawings of Viking ships.
Max Vinner, Viking Ship Museum Boats, Kannike Graphic A/S, Roskilde, Denmark 2002, ISBN 87 85 180 48 3 . Photos and drawings of the replica ships of the Viking museum in Roskilde, Denmark.
Peter Kirsch, The Galleon: The Great Ship of the Armada Era,
Conway Maritime Press / Naval Institute Press, 1990, ISBN: 978-0851775463. A
book about the naval development of the 16th century. The unwieldy carracks
with their high forecastles and aftcastles gave way to the galleons with an
elongated hull and lowered forecastle. They were faster, more maneuverable
Kirsch's book is lively, describing not only the technological changes and advances, but also their advantages documented by numerous quotations from contemporary travelers and sailors. Many engravings of ships from the period are printed.
In the appendix of the book is a reprint of an English treatise of 1620 on shipbuilding, the best preserved description of presentation and construction of a ship's hull of that time. That appendix is based on a publication by W. Salisbury, Society for Nautical Research, Occasional Publications No. 6, London 1958.
Included in the book are the plans of the reconstructed Stockholm galleon and photos of a model built by Kirsch in scale 1 : 35.
Lincoln P. Paine, Ships of the World, An Historical Encyclopaedia, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York 1997, ISBN 0-395-71556-3.
Tony Gibbons et al., The Encyclopedia of Ships, Amber Books Ltd, ISBN 1-85605-591-4. London 2001. Comprehensive coverage of 1500 ships and ship types, from the earliest times to present day. Many illustrations.
A. Dudszus et al., Dictionary of ship types: Ships, boats, and rafts under oar and sail, Conway Maritime Press, 1986, ISBN: 0851773605, a comprehensive encyclopaedia.
Basil W. Bathe, The Visual Encyclopaedia of Nautical Terms under Sail, Crown Publishers Inc., New York 1978, ISBN 0-517-53317-0 77-28560. A very helpful book!
Capt. H. Paasch, From Keel to Truck - De la quille a la pomme de mât - Vom Kiel zum Flaggenknopf, Illustrated Marine Encyclopedia (English, French, German), third edition 1901. Reprint by Verlag Eckhardt & Messtorff, Hamburg 1978, ISBN 3770240006. The classic work, very useful even today. In my opinion much better than the (smaller) first edition of 1885, of which many reprints exist.
Dava Sobel, Longitude - The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, Fourth Estate Ltd., London, 1996, ISBN 1 85702 571 7. History and achievements of John Harrison who built the first exact timekeepers usable for determining longitude in the 1750s and 1760s. Exciting, thrilling narrative, especially by including the impacts of political intrigues, personal feuds and the wars with France. Clear understandable description of the scientific background.
Andrew Lambert, War at Sea in the Age of Sail 1650 - 1850, Cassell, London 2000, ISBN 0 304 35246 2. Overview on the nature of sea power, navy organization, ship design, gun technology and battle tactics. Historical chronology of all major sea powers and the use of navies in national politics. Analysis of the English superiority at sea by their better training of crews and gunners and the accumulated experience of their officers. The English Navy was regarded as the vital force to defend the country, whereas the rulers of France often favoured the army when funds were scarce. Many contemporary paintings. Excellently narrated and fascinating book, though written with a slight English bias.
Robert Gardiner, The Campaign of Trafalgar 1803 - 1805, Chatham Publishing, London 1997, ISBN 1 86176 028 0. Very detailed description of those two years of navy war, ending with Nelson's funeral in London. Many contemporary sketches and paintings.
Roy Adkins, Trafalgar - the Biography of a Battle, Little, Brown, London 2004, ISBN 0 316 72511 0. Extensive narrative of the final days of the battle. Interspersed are many explanations on the political background and technical standards. The book is made very interesting by the numerous contemporary quotations of letters, newspaper articles and other citations. Outline of Nelson's battle plan to create a general melee in which he knew the English would handle their ships better. Several paintings showing the stages of the battle by the hour, with maps giving the positions of the individual ships.
Mark Adkin, The Trafalgar Compagnion, A Guide to History's Most Famous Sea Battle and the Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, Aurum Press, London 2005, ISBN 9781845130183. Depiction of Nelson's life with the battles of St. Vincent, Cadiz and St. Cruz 1979, Battle of the Nile 1798, Copenhagen 1801 and Trafalgar 1805. Many details of the life onboard, naval technology, communication, uniforms and the fate of the individual ships and their commanders in the battles, of the English as well as the French and Spanish. Exciting and interesting reading, and useful as general reference work.
John D Harbron, Trafalgar and the Spanish Navy, Conway Maritime Press, London 1988, ISBN 0851774776. The book explores the renewal of the Spanish sea power during the 1700s, and the importance of the large Spanish shipyard in Havana, Cuba. Analysis of Spain's defeat at Trafalgar 1805: too few experienced seamen, too little training of crews and gunners in comparison to the English. Description of the fifteen warship captains and the four admirals who fought at that battle.
Jaap Bruijn, Ronald Prud'homme van Reine, Rolof van Hövell tot Westerflier, De Ruyter - Dutch Admiral. Karwansaray Publishers, Rotterdam 2011, ISBN 9789490258030. Description of the 17th century maritime world of the Dutch republic, its politics and the life of de Ruyter and some of his contemporaries. Very detailed, exciting and thoroughly explaining how the effectiveness of the Dutch republican system was the basis to prevail over much larger adversaries like England and France.
Barry Strauss, The Battle of Salamis - The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece and Western Civilization, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-7432-4451-6. Fascinating narrative account of an history professor about the 480 B.C. invasion of Persians into Greece, led by Xerxes. Description of Greek resistance by Leonidas at Thermopylae and Themistocles' management of the Greek victory at Salamis.
William Fitzhugh, Elisabeth Ward, Vikings - the North Atlantic Saga. Smithsonian Institution 2000, ISBN 1-56098-970-x. Description of the Viking expansion 750 - 1050 to Iceland, Greenland and North America. Photos of many arts and household objects, maps, historical background.
Andrew Bridgeford, 1066 - The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry, Walker & Company, New York 2005, ISBN 0-8027-1450-1. History of the Norman conquest of England in 1066, by comparing the scenes of the Bayeux tapestry to other contemporary written sources. Impressive, knowledgeable, and exciting. However, there is one serious drawback in the book: the colour prints of the tapestry scenes are too small. The fine details, decisive in understanding the meaning of a scene, mostly cannot be recognized. The best internet source I could find for the tapestry scenes and the pictures of the Norman ships was:
All the tapestry scenes are finely printed in:
Lucien Musset, The Bayeux Tapestry, translated by Richard Rex, Boydell and Brewer Limited, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK, 2005, ISBN 1 84383 163 5. Excellent high resolution photographs of all tapestry scenes, with detailed commentary on each, more than in Andrew Bridgeford's work (see above; however, Andrew Bridgeford gives a more comprehensive description of the historic background). A special chapter is on the ships alone, comparing the tapestry pictures with the (few) other contemporary sources before 1100, like the eighth-century engraved stone from Lärbro, Bunge Museum, Gotland.
Ian W. Toll, Six Frigates - the Epic History of the Foundation of the U.S. Navy, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York 2006, ISBN 0393058476. History of the six frigates that were authorized by President Washington in 1794. Detailed chronology of the wars with England and the Barbary States of North Africa, and the main characters involved on all sides.
Peter Padfield, Armada, Victor Gollancz Ltd., London 1988, ISBN 0870210068. Description of the political conflict of Spain and England in 1570 - 1600, with emphasis on preparation, campaign and defeat of the Aramada in 1588. The course of the fleet and individual ships is shown in many details. Interesting and exciting.
Donald S. Johnson, Juha Nurminen, The History of Seafaring - Navigating the World's Oceans, Conway Maritime Press, London 2007, ISBN 9781844860401. Voyage through 3000 years of maritime history, history of ships and navigation knowledge. Large format book with many illustrations of old maps, navigational tools, contemporary technical drawings. For me most impressive: the comparison of the European navigational skills of James Cook and the accuracy of the traditional skills of the Tahitian navigators.
Joan Blaeu, Atlas Maior of 1665. Reprint by Taschen Deutschland GmbH 2005, ISBN 3-8228-3125-5. "The greatest and finest atlas ever published." Introduction and explanations by Peter van der Krogt. All texts in English, German, French.
Description taken from the Taschen webpage: "The finest and most comprehensive baroque atlas was Joan Blaeu's exceptional Atlas Maior, completed in 1665. The original 11-volume Latin edition, containing 594 maps, put Blaeu ahead of his staunch competitor, mapmaker Johannes Janssonius, whose rivalry inspired Blaeu to produce a grandiose edition of the largest and most complete atlas to date. Covering Arctica, Europe, Africa, Asia, and America, Blaeu's Atlas Maior was a remarkable achievement and remains to this day one of history's finest examples of mapmaking.
This reprint is made from the National Library of Vienna's complete, colored, gold-heightened copy, thus assuring the best possible detail and quality. The book's introduction, by the University of Utrecht's Peter van der Krogt, discusses the historical and cultural context and significance of the atlas; Krogt also provides detailed descriptions of the maps, allowing modern readers to fully appreciate Blaeu's masterwork."
For me it is a pleasure to have a look at the old maps and paintings. The introductions to the details of mapmaking those days are very interesting. If one compares the inaccurate maps with today's, one can visualise the difficulties of navigation in the 1600s.
I found this atlas when strolling near the town hall of Hamburg, in a small shop called "maps&ducks", where they have some more books on historic mapmaking. http://www.mapsandducks.de
Boye Meyer-Friese, Schiffsplakate, Seereisen im Spiegel zeitgenössischer Werbung, Edition Maritim, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-89225-458-3 (in German). Excellent reprints of advertisement posters by shipping companies from 19th and 20th century, with commentary.
Giancarlo Costa, Die hölzernen Engel - Galionsfiguren aus fünf Jahrhunderten, Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefeld 1980, ISBN 3-7688-0330-9 (in German). The title of an English edition might be: "Figureheads: Carving on ships from ancient times to twentieth century". Development and history of ships figure heads, with many fine photos.