Book Review-‘Warships of the Great War Era: A history in ship models’ by David Hobbs/The Ship of the Line: A history in ship models’ by Brian Lavery

By Michael Leek, published November 2020

Abstract

When this series started with The Sailing Frigate, published in 2012, it was expected to form as comprehensive a record as possible of the extensive and unrivalled collection of ship models held by the National Maritime Museum (NMM), most of which have never been on public display and, because of current and possibly questionable museum policies, are unlikely to ever be displayed (notwithstanding space limitations). The expectation was reinforced by the publisher’s prepublication blurb and by the opening paragraph on the verso of the dust jacket of The Sailing Frigate, which stated, ‘The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich houses the largest collection of scale ship models in the world.’ While this claim – repeated on the verso of the two volumes being reviewed here – is undoubtedly true, the fact that the museum has for many years not considered the display of models important enough an aid to our understanding of maritime history, ship building or naval architecture is lamentable, particularly when compared to displays of the 1970s, 1960s and before. Indeed the blurb on all three volumes continues: ship models ‘represent a three-dimensional archive of unique importance and authority. Treated as historical evidence, they offer more detail than even the best plans [sic], and demonstrate exactly what the ships looked like in a way that even the finest marine painter could not achieve’…

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

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