Historic Ship Models

...of the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries in the Kriegstein Collection, from Seaforth Publications

Title: Historic Ship Models
Author: Arnold & Henry Kriegstein
Publisher: Seaforth Publications
ISBN: 978-1-3990-0977-5

'of the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries in the Kriegstein Collection'. A large format 288-page book this is a weighty one, but simply lovely. I am looking at a hardback copy so not cheap, though there are e-book versions available. I am going to say though that leaving this out on a coffee table should get lots of interest thanks to the beautiful photography and fascinating models which form the collection belonging to twin brothers Arnold and Henry, who have also put this book together so they can share their collection with the rest of us.
The book is spread across 35 chapters, the first 30 of which are each devoted to specific, individual models. The final chapters take on more general topics, such as conservation of these old models, and recognising fakes. In my mind, having the paper copy really shows the quality of the photos of what are some quite beautiful models. Not all of them are elaborate, indeed a few are quite dull when compared to others which feature full masts and rigging along with elaborate carvings and gilt decorations around the stern, but all are marvellous to see. For each one they provide details on how they acquired the models, their Provenance, and then describe their condition and any restoration work, along with details of the construction and scale of the model plus listing additional references on the vessel and all accompanied by beautiful photos of the model and its' detail fittings. These models are referred to as Admiralty Board Models, as they were mostly made by the designer/dock yard who proposed the ship and they would act as a reference for the worker who would build the actual ship itself. There are too many to list them all, but it opens with the stunning Royal James, a 1st Rate of 1671. Full masts and rigging and lots of gilt work. That's followed by a basic hull model, no masts, of a Charles II 5th Rate of c1680. Others, such as the Royal Oak have incredible hand painted detailing. I personally liked to see some examples of very detailed models made from animal bone, built by POWs during the Napoleonic Wars. Built with intricate detail by sailors who clearly knew them so well, and the white bone looking every bit as good as ivory.
Seeing the detail and indeed both the skilled workmanship and beauty of these models is a great opportunity, and I am so pleased that the brothers have opened up their collection to us. The skill of the modellers demonstrated in this amazing collection really can't fail to impress. These show the real history of the naval ships, both large and small, from the Royal Navy, both before and during the time of Nelson and the famous Victory.
Thanks to Seaforth Publishing, part of Pen & Sword, for our review copy.

Robin