Old Ships Figureheads & Stern

WITH WHICH ARE ASSOCIATED GALLEREIES
HANCING PIECES, CATHEADS AND DIVERS OTHER MATTERS THAT CONCERN THE GRACE AND COUNTENANCE OF OLD SAILING-SHIPS By L G Carr-Laughton
 
REVIEWED by Richard Hunter Figurehead Historian.
 
Prior to its original publication in 1925 by Halton & T. Smith of London, very little material had been published in the United Kingdom, on the subject of Decorative Maritime woodcarving, both in the Naval and Merchant traditions, specifically the area around the ships figurehead and the stern carvings, that was apart from the very occasional magazine article, appearing in such publications as the Century and Gentleman magazines, Illustrated London News, or The Strand magazine plus a number of other relatively obscure publications from the late 1890’s onwards, even then the treatment of the subject could be seen as was somewhat casual in it’s approach, and at the same time loose in it’s overall detail, errors and miss identifications published in one article would be repeated almost verboten in others, little of the material held in the archives of the British Admiralty or the Public records office was used or taken into account, without a doubt as a Naval historian Leonard Carr-Laughton understood and appreciated the subject and took great care with his meticulous and painstaking research in both public and private archives, in the United Kingdom , North and South Europe.

Much of this material had not been published before, he was able to categories the subject into a number of major chapters, Figureheads, The Stern, Quarter Galleries, the Broadside, Inboard works, and Painting & Gilding, each chapter had a number of sub-chapters such as British and then Foreign practice, this is invaluable if one is to understand and appreciate the different styles and traditions used thoughts the centuries from the early limited figureheads and decorations of the fifteenth century to the great excess of the highly ornate extravagance of the Baroque period thought out the whole of Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, to the ultimate end of the tradition at around the end of the nineteenth century, with the dramatic changes in Naval Architecture across the World with its fundamental and far-reaching change from traditional sail to steam during the last half of the century, and then eventually from Wood to Iron and then in time Steel during the last quarter, each chapter is rich with fine line illustrations taken from surviving models of the period, today this detailed research stands as the bench mark for our present day understanding and appreciation of this complex and fascinating subject, copies of the original large and handsomely bound limited edition are extremely rare and much sort after by collectors, as such good editions carry a high price on the open market.

Algrove Publishing of Canada, under it’s Classic Reprint Series have re-published this remarkable book, at a cost and high quality of production that brings this classic work within easy reach of any Maritime Historian or serious model maker, This new edition of Carr-Laughton’s work has been completely reset in a style and format that is both easy to read and more acceptable to modern day readers, at the same time a small number of errors have been corrected from the original edition, this new work has also undertaken a number of improvements, notably a considerably expanded index by subject matter and perhaps more important of all a detailed index to ships named within the text, this is an invaluable addition to the original form, enabling readers to locate a particular vessel, the few historic black and white photographs of original surviving Figureheads and models at the back of the original edition have been faithfully reproduced and have lost none of their original detail.

It is obvious that Leonard G Lee the publisher at Algrove Publishing and his staff over in Canada have gone to great deal of effort and considerable trouble to bring this new and fresh edition of a classic book to production, I feel sure that Leonard Carr-Laughton would be delighted to see Leonard G Lees new edition, the original contents and ethos of his work remain in many ways unchanged, except for a few modern day additions and corrections that inevitably follow after almost 80 years.

“Old Ships Figure-heads & Sterns”
WITH WHICH ARE ASSOCIATED GALLEREIES
HANCING PIECES, CATHEADS AND DIVERS
OTHER MATTERS THAT CONCERN THE GRACE AND COUNTENANCE OF OLD SAILING-SHIPS
by L.G Carr-Laughton 1925.

Smyth-sewn softcover, 8-1/2” x 11”, 296 pages, 8 full colour pages, numerous black and white photographs and line illustrations, first published in 1925, reprinted in 2006 as part of the Classic Reprint Series.

Copies of this book can be bought direct from...
Lee Valley Tools,
At PO Box 6295, Station J, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2A 1TA.
Web site www.leevalley.com
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone: (1) 613-596-0350

With details of price and shipping cost in North America, for readers of the “Hunter Archive” web site copies of this book, and other new and second hand books on the subject of Ships Figureheads can be bought direct from the “Hunter Archives”at £17.50 per copy plus £4.50 postage. E-mail and postal address details can be found here.