The Mariners Mirror Archive

Book Review-‘Picturing the Pacific: Joseph Banks and the shipboard artists of Cook and Flinders’ by J. Taylor

By Katherine Parker

Taylor’s book comes just as institutions, societies and governments are beginning the decade-long process of commemorating the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s three voyages to the Pacific. On 25 August 1768 Cook set out in the Endeavour to view the transit of Venus and search for the unknown southern continent in the South Seas. […] Read More

Filed under: James Cook | Pacific
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-O’er the Wide and Tractless Sea: Original art of the Yankee whale hunt’ by M. P. Dyer

By Arthur G. Credland

This volume hints at the riches of the collections in the New Bedford Museum, which incorporating those of the former Kendall Whaling Museum, Boston, has a remarkably comprehensive coverage of whaling images and artefacts. Though of course the bulk of the material concerns the American whale fishery, including an outstanding array of scrimshaw work, it […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music | Whaling & Fishing

Book Review-‘Van de Velde & Son, Marine Painters: The firm of Willem van de Velde the Elder and Willem van de Velde the Younger, 1640–1707’ by R. Daalder, translated by M. Hoyle

By Ron Brand

Britain’s most famous marine painter, William Turner, sighed at the sight of an eighteenth-century print of a painting by Willem van de Velde the Younger: ‘This made me a painter!’ For obvious reasons, this frequently cited anecdote is mentioned in the book Van de Velde & Son, Marine Painters, because both the Van de Veldes, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Dazzle: Disguise and disruption in war and art’ by J. Taylor

By David J. B. Smith

The paradox of camouflage has been intrinsically linked to strategic maritime warfare for centuries. Seaborne concealment of ancient naval vessels was largely achieved by a clever choice of hull colour while also incorporating dyed sails. By the age of steam, making smoke was always an opportunistic screen to hide behind – until the wind changed. […] Read More

Filed under: WW1 | WW2
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Cinnnamon and Elephants: Sri Lanka and the Netherlands from 1600’ by L. Wagenaar

By Guido vun Meersbergen

th Asia, Africa, and South America commissioned by the Rijksmuseum. Cinnamon and Elephants documents the fascinating story of the Dutch East India Company’s presence in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as well as its nineteenth-century aftermath. The volume is as much an accessible and up-to-date overview of the VOC’s commercial, diplomatic, […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

Book Review-‘Broadsides: Caricature and the navy, 1756–1815’ by James Davey and Richard Johns

By John Hattendorf

Academics sometimes mistakenly ignore the publications that accompany museum exhibitions. Museums publish them for various reasons, not all of which are academic. This short and richly illustrated paperback was compiled to accompany an exhibition displayed at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, between October 2012 and February 2013. Its authors, James Davey, the curator of naval […] Read More

Filed under: Eighteenth Century | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Kipling and the Sea: Voyages and discoveries from North Atlantic to South Pacificby’ A. Lycett (ed.)

By Nigle Rigby

Rudyard Kipling is probably best known today as the poet of empire, and more particularly as the poet of British India, through novels and stories like Kim (1901) and The Man Who Would Be King (1888), poems in the vein of ‘Gunga Din’ (published in the 1892 collection, Barrack-Room Ballads) and children’s collections such as […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Book Review-‘A Sailor’s Life: The life and times of John Short of Watchet, 1839−1933’ by T. Brown

By David Jenkins

This is a fascinating account of the (remarkably long) life of the Watchet-born seafarer John Short, also known by his nickname of ‘Yankee Jack’. In many ways, there was nothing particularly unusual about his life, in that it followed a pattern of going to sea followed by thousands of young men born and brought up […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music | Biography

Book Review-‘British Nautical Melodramas, 1820–1850’ edited by A. Schmidt

By Bill Jones

Spectacle and melodrama have always played a significant part in popular entertainment, and the sea offers an impressive range of opportunity for evoking strong reactions and emotions among spectators, readers and audiences from classical and biblical times, through Viking sagas to Shakespeare’s Tempest and on to contemporary disaster movies such as Krakatoa: East of Java […] Read More

Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Art & Music

Book Review-‘Painting War: George Plante’s combat art in World War II ‘by K. Broome Williams

By Michael Leek

The concept of ‘official’ war artists making visual records and interpretations of naval and military battles can be said to have started with Van de Velde the Elder, along with one or two of his English contemporaries. Van de Velde was initially the official artist of the Dutch navy and was, for example, present during […] Read More

Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Art & Music

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