British Warship Recognition Vol.II by Richard Perkins

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  • This is the second of eight volumes of facsimiles of elegant water-coloured line drawings of British naval vessels from Victorian times to 1939. Each is annotated in manuscript with sketches of various detailed changes to appearance over successive refits such as funnel cowls. Volume I, covering battleships and battlecruisers, came out in April; please see my review of 29th September 2016, as all my enthusiastic encomia on that volume apply in full force to this one. This volume covers armoured ships 1860-1895, monitors, and aviation ships. It concludes in 1939 with HMS Ark Royal. Something over 300 ships are represented, in broadside elevation, either individually or as part of a class. While visible external details are chronicled and sketched, other details are not included – you have to go to Jane's for those. What you do get, for instance, is how in the configuration of her port hawsepipe HMS Empress of India differs from her R-class sister ships and how the forward scuttles vary between HMSs Revenge and Resolution.

    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 which contains two hundred pages of detailed illustrations.

    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 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. Volume III, covering cruisers, is I understand scheduled for publication next year.

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