Book review Book Review: "THE SHIP OF THE LINE - Volume II: Design, Construction and Fittings" by Brian Lavery


Staff member
Dec 25, 2017

Vienna, Austria
Book Review:
THE SHIP OF THE LINE - Volume II: Design, Construction and Fittings
by Brian Lavery

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Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Conway Maritime Press Ltd (31 Dec. 1997)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 26 x 1.9 x 30.5 cm


This definitive work is a major step forward in the study of the sailing warship. For the first time, the development of the line-of-battle ship is described precisely, in terms of individual ships and classes, highlighting the factors influencing specific changes in design. This sophisticated approach allows the author to tackle a great many myths-such as the static nature of eighteenth century design, or the pre-eminence of French naval architecture-and his conclusions challenge the accepted view in many areas of naval history. For the enthusiast and academic historian alike, The Ship of the Line is essential reading for a better understanding of the navy in the age of sail.

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1) Hull Design
2) Hull Construction
3) Decoration
4) Masts and Yards
5) Sails and Rigging
6) Fittings
7) Accomodation
8) Armament

I) Letters relating to the ship models
II) Contract specification for the HMS Yarmouth 1695
III) Carved works for the HMS Defiance, 1966 - Painting contract 1696
IV) A New England mast contract 1692
V) Rigging List 1677 - List of sails 1790
VI) Method of sheating 1728 - List of Boats 1719
VII) Cabins of the HMS Victory 1642 - Establishment of cabins 1757
VIII) List of guns and gunner´s stores 1661 - 1782

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Review (partly from amazon)

This is the second part of Brian Lavery's massive work on the development of the major warships of the age of fighting sail, which were sometimes referred in Britain as the country's "Wooden Walls".
Like the first volume, it is a large, beautiful and extensively illustrated book. Most of the 192 pages include pictures of eighteenth or early nineteenth century warships, including contemporary paintings sketches and cartoons, photographs of contemporary ship models, plans and charts. The dust jacket is in colour: all other illustrations are in black and white.
Where the first book gave the story of how the demands of various wars forced the development of navy warships and fleets, and tactics to employ them, this book concentrates on the details of design and construction. It describes in some detail, though in a reasonably accessible way, the construction and technical operation of various parts of a ship - the hull, sails and rigging, fittings such as anchors and capstans, accomodation, armament, and decorations such as the figurehead.
This book is perhaps a bit too specialist a work to be of interest to everyone, but it is accessible enough to be an interesting read for anyone with a strong interest in naval history.

Modelers interested mainly in the Construction and Fittings, than I would recommend more to Peter Goodwins book (review here: ), related to Hull design and also the interesting Appendices makes this book also valuable - As an additional one, especially if you have volume I, this book is recommended

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For more Look Inside photos please check the following post