This is the third of eight volumes of facsimiles of truly elegant water-coloured line drawings of British naval vessels from Victorian times to 1939.
- Richard Perkins
The RN built a lot of cruisers and Perkins had to split this part of his work over two volumes. This one covers the second half of cruiser development from 1877 to 1939, from the last steamers with full sailing rigs to HMSs Belfast and Edinburgh, and including cruisers of all classes plus HMSs Courageous and Glorious which are normally referred to as battle cruisers. Earlier cruisers from 1865 to the 1900s will appear in Vol.IV, I understand scheduled for publication this summer.
Volume I, covering battleships and battlecruisers, came out in April 2016; please see my review of 29th September at British Warship Recognition Vol.I
as all my enthusiastic encomia on that volume apply in full force to this one, as they did to volume II.
Following 15 pages of facsimile notes, something over 150 ships are represented, in broadside elevation, either individually or as part of a class. The main pictures, usually two or three drawings to a page, are interspersed with tabulations, notes and thumbnail sketches of masts, funnels, tops, scuttle arrangements etc showing differences between ships of the same class, as well as tables showing deployment history and periods as flagships, giving 164 pages of artwork. We see the detailed differences, for instance, between aerials on sister ships and how such and such has struts on her mast and so and so doesn't, all picked out in these supporting illustrations While these visible external details are chronicled and sketched - in very fine grain - in general statistics of size, armament and machinery are not included – you have to go to Jane's for those.
Little is known of the author as a person. After decades of remarkable research going back at least to the 1920s he gave his archive of drawings and thousands of photographic negatives to the NMM in 1967. The originals were carefully sorted and bound by the NMM and have now been photographed in high resolution for this published edition.
Will it fit your bookcase? The book measures 16” x 12¼” and weighs 6 lbs on my bathroom scales. Cover price is £60 rrp is but Amazon are currently offering at £39 plus p&p (UK postage £13.75 Royal Mail 2nd class 'Medium Parcel').
Seaforth are yet again to be congratulated for bringing to the public another extraordinary gem from the NMM's otherwise unseen treasure house, and for doing so in such an elegant style.