In Memory - 5 years ago a great man died - Jean Boudriot, historian of naval engineering, author of many mongraphies and volumes of "74-Gun Ship"


Staff member
Blandford Group Build
Dec 25, 2017

Vienna, Austria
In Memory - 5 years ago a great man died

Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
22 February 2015 - Death of Jean Boudriot, architect,
notable historian of naval engineering, author of many mongraphies and the well known volumes of "74-Gun Ship"

Jean Pierre Paul Boudriot, born March 20, 1921 in Dijon and died February 22, 2015 in Paris, is a French architect also known for his publications on ancient weapons and naval architecture.

It is one of the main actors1 of the renaissance of naval archeology and its material expression, the arsenal model making. He is notably the author of the four-volume work, The 74-Gun Ship, a treatise on naval art on 18th century naval architecture. His works on ancient weapons also constitute references for collectors.



Professional career

Son and grandson of an architect, Jean Boudriot will follow the family tradition by devoting his studies to this profession, facilitated in this by his natural orientation towards drawing2.

Admitted to the Fine Arts in 1942, he acquired there a scrupulous approach to the sharpness and precision of the drawing, a training centered on design and construction techniques but also a familiarization with engineering. There he will meet his wife who was studying sculpture there.

In 1943, to escape the STO and to leave for Germany, he chose to work on a farm in Burgundy and then in an oil shale mine near Autun, where he was employed in pushing cars until May 1944.

After obtaining his architecture diploma in 1947, he created an agency with three friends of Fine Arts. He has the opportunity to work with the architect Pierre Lejeune, in Paris. The post-war period was then favorable for reconstructions and the architectural firm developed rapidly. Without really specializing in a particular field, he works for housing, office buildings, collective constructions, schools, etc. We also owe him the creation of several prestigious buildings in Paris3, in 1958 for the ESPE building in Chaumont.

French firearms

The profession of architect being very addictive, he felt the need to find a derivative for his free time. Collector of old weapons, he notices, while trying to identify his acquisitions, that there are not really any specialized works on the subject. He decides to create easily accessible documentation by grouping in a book the information available in the archives. He then notes that these ancient texts are not sufficiently explicit and that it remains difficult to identify weapons by their written description alone.

His taste for drawing and his intellectual rigor led him to graphically represent so-called portable weapons in a publication he started in 1961. This collection of four volumes was completed in 1971. He has since become a reference work with collectors of old weapons and has been the subject of two reissues (1978 and 1997).

This activity having led him to attend assiduously the Army Museum, he agreed to assume the chairmanship of its board of directors, a position he held until 1981.


The 74-gun ship

In addition to his work on portable armaments, Jean Boudriot is interested in artillery and in particular in naval artillery. Through a series of chance encounters, he was put in contact with Major Vichot, then director of the Musée de la Marine. This meeting gave birth to a rich collaboration4 and the latter opened without restriction the doors of the museum and its reserves to study the armament of the Navy.

During the sixties, his research on naval artillery will lead him to be interested in the ships which carried this artillery and more precisely those of the period which extends from 1650 to 1850, period which he will qualify as "Classic" in reference to terrestrial architecture. He will therefore study the major construction treaties such as that of Duhamel du Monceau, Vial de Clairbois and many other authors in order to acquire in-depth knowledge of naval architecture of the time. He also assiduously attends the National Archives, the Historical Service of the Navy and consults the numerous manuscripts available at the National Library or in the archives of the ports.

Following the same approach as that which he adopted for weapons, he decided to study a particular ship by applying to detail it in an exhaustive way in a work which will present the stages of its construction. He sets out to describe a 74-gun vessel, a typical vessel from the 1780s. In addition to the texts, this description is based on a careful examination of the models kept in national museums and more particularly on that of a large model. kept at the National Maritime Museum in Rochefort, which details the provisions.

This statement will serve as a graphic basis for the illustration of the work called "Le Vaisseau de 74 cannons", the writing of which will require four volumes and ten years of work. On this occasion, he slips into the shoes of the designers of the time and invests himself as for a real construction project. The subject is organized in a way that follows the logic of construction with the description of the frame and that of the equipment of the hull, ending with the rigging. These three major stages correspond to the first three volumes, the vessel thus being fully described. The fourth volume deals more specifically with men and the use of the vessel, it also presents a glossary of 1,800 specific terms.

The first of the four volumes appeared in 1973 at Éditions des Quatre-Seigneurs, the other three will be published respectively in 1974, 1975 and 1977. At the end of this first edition, he resumes his rights and ensures the following re-editions himself.


The monographs

Jean Boudriot quickly realizes that the majority of his readers4 are model makers looking for rigorous and reliable documents. He then decided to continue his work on naval archeology, opening his research to other buildings by offering complementary works.

The information available in "The 74-gun vessel" is a reference, so it draws on these sources by detailing the particularities of the other buildings. These monographs consist of a booklet which describes the chosen vessel which is placed in its historical context and a set of detailed plans5 drawn separately which illustrate the construction. These sets of plans which, in most of the monographs, show the entire framework, are the basis for the work of the arsenal model making. All these publications are based on first-hand information, collected, as for Le Vaisseau de 74 canons in period documents, systematically ruling out modern sources. It should be noted that these works are not model works but the rigorous representation of real buildings.

This series of seventeen monographs grouped under the name of "French Naval Archaeological Collection" illustrates a large part of the categories of ships existing in the French navy of the classical period. They enhance the subject by the contribution of numerous knowledge on the naval archeology which they contain and which, until then, had been a little forgotten. In addition, other authors such as Gérard Delacroix, Jean-Claude Lemineur and Jacques Fichant bring their work to this collection by completing the range of ships offered.

To these publications were added five historical reference works on the Navy, dealing more generally with frigates and vessels, sea artillery and uniforms of the Royal Navy. Finally, two books present, through numerous generously commented photographs, the models kept in French national museums.

To publish these monographs, Jean Boudriot joined forces in 1979 with Hubert Berti6, one of his loyal readers, and both went on to create the company Éditions ANCRE (for Architecture Navale Classique Recherche Édition). Translations into English are being developed by David Roberts. Other translations are emerging (Italian, Spanish, German). At the same time, J. Boudriot and H. Berti created the Éditions Oméga specialized in the re-edition of old works on the navy. This latter structure was integrated into ANCRE a few years later.

"The Vessel of 74 guns" and the monographs have enabled the renewal of a movement called arsenal modelism, so named by reference to the models kept in museums and coming from the country's arsenals. This type of model making endeavors to reproduce in the most rigorous way the construction of ships.

Other activites

In addition to his research, Jean Boudriot has led since 1979 and for more than thirty years in collaboration with Eric Rieth, a seminar in naval archeology which is held at the Maritime Museum every Monday evening.

He has also collaborated in numerous specialized or general journals (Neptunia7, La Gazette des pommes, various historical journals, etc.). He is regularly asked as an advisor for the construction of replicas, 8 the identification of weapons or artefacts from underwater excavations and other subjects related to French naval archeology.


Reference Works

Les armes à feu françaises : modèles réglementaires, Paris, chez l'auteur, 1961-1971 (réimpr. 1978 et 1997), in-4° (notice BnF no FRBNF32930000).
Le Vaisseau de 74 canons : traité pratique d'art naval, Grenoble, Éditions des Quatre Seigneurs, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1973-1977 (réimpr. 1978, 1983, 1997 et 2006), 4 volumes (notice BnF no FRBNF36258705).

The Monographs :

La "Vénus" : frégate de 18, de l'ingénieur Sané, 1782, Paris, ANCRE, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1979 (ISBN 2-903-179-01-8) ;
Le "Cygne" : brick de 24, de l'ingénieur Pestel, 1806-1808, Paris, ANCRE, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1981 (ISBN 2-903-179-02-6) ;
Le "Cerf" : cotre, du constructeur Denÿs, 1779-1780, Paris, ANCRE, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1981 (ISBN 2-903-179-03-4) ;
Galiote à bombes "La Salamandre" : 1752, du constructeur J.M.B. Coulomb, Paris, ANCRE, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1982 (ISBN 2-903-179-04-2) ;
Compagnie des Indes, 1720-1770, vol. 1 : Vaisseaux : hommes, voyages, commerces, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1983 (ISBN 2-903-178-12-7) ;
Compagnie des Indes, 1720-1770, vol. 2 : Le " Boullongne " (1759-1761) : du constructeur G. Cambry ;
Traite et navire négrier "L'Aurore" : monographie au 1/36, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1984 (ISBN 2-903-178-13-5) ;
"Le Coureur", 1776 : lougre du constructeur D. Denÿs, Paris, ANCRE, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1985 (ISBN 2-903-179-05-0) ;
La Belle Poule, frégate de XII de 1765, 1986 (ISBN 2-903-179-06-9) ;
Le Requin, chébec de 1750, 1987 (ISBN 2-903-179-07-7) ;
Le Bonhomme Richard, navire corsaire ex Cie des Indes de 1779, 1987 (ISBN 2-903-178-18-6) ;
Le Bateau de Lanvéoc, traversier de la rade de Brest des xviie et xviiie siècles, 1988 (ISBN 2-903-179-08-5) ;
Goélette "La Jacinthe", 1823 : de l'ingénieur-constructeur Delamorinière, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1989 (ISBN 2-903-178-22-4) ;
Historique de la corvette, 1650-1850 : "La Créole", 1827 : prince de Joinville, San Juan de Ulúa, 1838, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1990 (ISBN 2-903-178-23-2) ;
Le navire marchand : Ancien régime, vol. 1 : étude historique et monographie, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1991 (ISBN 2-903-178-26-7) ;
Le navire marchand : Ancien régime, vol. 2 : "Le Mercure", 1730 : navire au commerce ;
"La Renommée" : frégate de VIII, 1744, Paris, ANCRE, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1993 (ISBN 2-903-179-11-5) ;
Le vaisseau trois-ponts du chevalier de Tourville, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 1998, 2 volumes (ISBN 2-903-178-27-5) ;
"La Belle", 1684 : Cavelier de La Salle, l'expédition de 1684, Paris, J. Boudriot, coll. « Archéologie navale française », 2000, 2 volumes (ISBN 2-903-178-28-3) ;

Historical Publications :

1992 L'artillerie de mer 1650-1850 (ISBN 2-903-179-12-3) ;
1992 La frégate, Marine de France 1650-1850 (ISBN 978-2-903-179-11-3) ;
1994 Les vaisseaux de 50 et 64 canons 1650-1780 (ISBN 2-903-179-12-3) ;
1995 Les vaisseaux de 74 à 120 canons 1650-1850 (ISBN 2-903-178-19-1) édité erroné9 ;
1997 Modèles historiques Musée de la Marine (vol.1)
2003 Les uniformes de la Marine royale française (ISBN 2-903-178-29-1) ;
2006 Modèles historiques Musée de la Marine (vol.2)

A bigger number of these Monographs / Plansets and Historical publications you can find in our special areas

Several Monographies were already subject of detailed Planset Reviews (like 74-Gun Ship, La Salamandre, La Renommee, La Belle, Le Requin, Bonhomme Richard) and Book Reviews ( like 74-Gun Ship Volumes 1 to 4, Modèles historiques Musée de la Marine Vol. 1 and 2 ) here in SOS:

His publications are available at ancre via

To get an impression about his work, please take a look at this front covers - so you know, how important Jean Boudriot was for our hobby

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Staff member
Blandford Group Build
Dec 25, 2017

Vienna, Austria
Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
22 February 2015 - Death of Jean Boudriot, architect,
notable historian of naval engineering, author of many mongraphies and the well known volumes of "74-Gun Ship"

some more publications of Jean Boudriot

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IMG_53311.jpg Les-vaisseaux-de-74-à-120-canons-1650-1850.jpg

IMG_46651.jpg monographie-de-l-ambitieux-vaisseau-3-ponts-1680.jpg