The Ships of Maso Finiguerra Part I

By Geoffrey Callender, published October 1912


In 1873 John Ruskin bought for £1,000 a collection of 99 drawings by a Florentine master of the early fifteenth century, later acquired by the British Museum and attributed by Sir Sidney Colvin to the goldsmith turned engraver, Maso Finiguerra. The drawings contain a number of representations of ships at a period of transition from primitive vessels with a single great sail to the glorious creations of the Henrician and Elizabethan navies. Finiguerra was no seaman, but he was the most careful and accurate draughtsman and a considerable debt is due to him from nautical archaeologists, as this analysis shows. These images, incidental features within bigger pictures, were produced as part of a large collection intended for a universal history, but they are completed drawings and as such a detailed attempt by a master craftsman to represent the contemporary round ship. This article discusses the known provenance of the drawings and introduces the images.

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Filed under: High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Art & Music

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