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De Nederlandsche scheeps-Bouw-Konst open gestelt [The Dutch Ship Construction is now revealed]

Date: 1697
Overall: 405 x 255 x 60 mm, 2.6 kg
Display Dimensions: 405 x 255 x 60 mm, 2600 kg
Medium: Ink on paper, vellum
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00030855
Place Manufactured:Amsterdam

User Terms

    Cornelis van Yk's 1697 book 'de nederlandsche scheeps-bouw-konst open gestelt' is a detailed account of 17th century Dutch shipbuilding practice. Featuring diagrams and illustrations, the work discusses shipbuilding materials, requisite mast sizes, riggings, sails, frames, floors, hull planking, ceilings, fastenings, ship construction and shipyard practise.
    SignificanceCornelius van Yk's 1697 book is one of the earliest publications on 17th century Dutch shipbuilding, and is an essential source for study on the subject matter. The book provides insight into the design and construction of a vessel, highlighting the steps involved in the shipbuilding process using the frame-based construction method.
    HistoryThe 17th century may be one of the most important in the history of European sailing ships. For it was during this period that shipwrights solved many of the major problems facing marine design through the development of the science of naval architecture and ship design.

    The first recorded text on shipbuilding was Garcia’s ‘Instruction Nauthica’ printed in Mexico City in 1587. Spurred on by the development of printing presses and the new science many other works followed in English (Smith’s ‘A Sea Grammer, with the Plaine Exposition of Smiths Accidence for young Sea-Men’ 1627), French (Fournier’s ‘Hydrographie contenant la theories et la pratique de toutes les parties de la navigation’ 1667), Swedish (Ralamb’s ‘Skeps Byggerij eller Adelig Ofnings Tionde Tom’ 1691), and Dutch (Witsen’s ‘Aeloude en Hedendaegsche Scheepsbouw enBbestier…’ 1671). A contemporary of Nicholas Witsen was Cornelius van Ijk who published in Amsterdam ‘De Nederlandsche scheeps-Bouw-Konst open gestelt’ in 1697, at the very zenith of Dutch shipbuilding.

    Dutch shipbuilding of the 17th century was radically different to that of today. Rather than using drawings and plans, highly skilled shipwrights worked to a specified list of dimensions provided by the ship owner. Using these dimensions, the shipwrights would produce the most efficient and seaworthy craft possibly given the trade the vessel was to engage in. By the mid-1640s this standardisation of shipbuilding was such that the Dutch could build ships faster and cheaper than just about anywhere else in Europe.

    However standardisation – especially with the publication in 1697 of the Dutch East India Company’s RESOLUTIE which restricted ships to a specific size and shape – also meant that innovation and experimentation in the Dutch yards began to die out, forcing the Dutch in the 1720s to import skilled shipwrights from England and France.

    Unlike Witsen who was a politician who first interviewed a number of shipwrights in Amsterdam and then wrote about their work, Cornelius van Yk was a literate ship’s carpenter and shipwright based in Delshaven near Rotterdam. Although Rotterdam and Amsterdam are less than 100 kilometres apart, the method prescribed by van Yk for the building of ships is totally different to that prescribed by Witsen.

    In the opening chapter of van Yk's work he provides a brief examination of other types of ship construction – including the building of the Ark by Noah, Spanish galleons, Venetian galleys and Thai barges. The rest of his book is a very detailed account of the frame-first style of shipbuilding practiced in the southern parts of the Netherlands and parts of England. Eventually this style of shipbuilding – with a few minor modifications – became the preferred method of building wooden sailing vessels.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: De Nederlandsche scheeps-Bouw-Konst open gestelt [The Dutch Ship Construction is now revealed]

    Primary title: De Nederlandsche scheeps- Bouw- Konst open gestelt [The Dutch Ship Construction is now revealed?]

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