More Doubts about Decks

By R.C. Anderson, published December 1921


Did artists of the Sixteenth Century portray actual ship construction methods or is it safe to assume ships were built entirely differently? A controversial issue is that of stepped decks. From the evidence of Anthony Anthony’s contemporary drawings we have portraits of every ship in the English Navy in 1545 as well as M de la Ronciere’s view of the French Fleet off the Normandy Coast in 1548. It is generally accepted that these drawings do give good representations of the appearance of ships of around 1540. However Anthony’s drawings of the Henry Grace a Dieu show seven big guns superposed in the stern plus one deck above the uppermost, making a controversial eight in total. Examination of further evidence from the Cottonian MSS in the British Museum confirms that artists of the day did know what ships looked like, how they carried their guns and that their drawings approximated to reality very closely indeed.

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Filed under: Tudors | English Channel
Subjects include: Art & Music | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Weapons

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