The Evolution of Studdingsails
Studdingsails, first identified in an English manuscript in 1685, were described in various ways by French, English, Dutch and Swedish writers over the eighteenth century, on the top and main yards of fore and main masts. A picture published by William Hutchinson in 1779 of a privateer he had commanded during the Seven Years’ War is thought to show the maturity of British studdingsails, including topgallants. More detailed descriptions published towards the end of the eighteenth century seem to raise as many questions as they answer. Nineteenth century books mostly represent naval practice.