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A History of Marine Architecture, Volume 1

Date: 1800
Overall: 46 x 304 x 250 mm, 2.1 kg
Medium: Ink on paper, leather bound boards, gilt
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00004850
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This book was written in three volumes by John Charnock, who dedicated it to the Earl of Spencer - the First Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty. It is a complete history of marine architecture from ancient times to the early 19th century, accompanied by over 100 detailed illustrative engravings.

    The full title of the book is 'An history of marine architecture: including an enlarged and progressive view of the nautical regulations and naval history, both civil and military, of all nations, especially of Great Britain; derived chiefly from original manuscripts, as well in private collections as in the great public repositories, and deduced from the earliest period to the present time.'
    SignificanceWritten for both the shipbuilder and scholar, this book was one of the most comprehensive histories of marine architecture in the early 19th century and highlights the enormous developments in marine architecture. The book was also seen as a celebration of the so-called British colonisation of the seas.
    HistoryJohn Charnock (1756 - 1807) began his studies around 1767 at the Reverend Teynell Cotton's school at Winchester under the care of the Headmaster Dr Joseph Warton. He entered Oxford University in 1774 as a Gentleman Commoner of Merton College, where he discovered his passion for writing. After university he went on to study naval and military tactics, with the hopes of taking a military profession. After his parents denied his request, he entered the naval services as a volunteer. After some time he retired to private life and continued to write, and his publications became his primary form of revenue.

    His fourth publication A History of Maritime Architecture came to fruition after almost twenty years' work at an enormous cost of £6,000. The publication received great acclaim however the high price at nine guineas limited its sales and put Charnock in serious financial difficulties. Charnock went on to complete further publications and second editions to earlier works, and contributed to the Naval Chronicles and other periodicals for several years. He died in May 1807.

    In an obituary written by Edmund Lodge, his works were described as having 'indefatigable research, sagacious selection, and faithful detail' but they had 'certain faults of style which must inevitably attend rapid composition'. His greatest work, A History of Marine Architecture, was described as 'very valuable and superb work, illustrated by a great number of fine engravings'.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: A History of Marine Architecture, Volume 1

    Primary title: An History of Marine Architecture. Volume I

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