By Richard Perkins
Published by Seaforth Publishing
Imprint of Pen & Sword Books, Ltd.
Copyright © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 2016
ISBN – 978-1-84832-386-5
MSRP – £48.00 / $60.00 US
Richard Perkins spent a lifetime amassing one of the largest personal collections of photographic references of warships prior to WWII with around 11,000 pictures, all with a focus on ships of all Royal Navy between 1860 and 1939. Touted as an avid collector and amateur photographer, Mr. Perkins took his collection of photographs and negatives and compiled an impressive, eight volume collection of hand-drawn profile recognition illustrations mirroring his collection of negatives. Richard Perkins diligently photographed, drew, organized and categorized just about every single ship afloat within the Royal Navy between 1860 and 1939 as well as keeping track of their alterations and documenting them along the way. Unfortunately due to wartime security procedures, Richard was not allowed to continue his work once Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. The entire Perkins Collection was gifted to the National Maritime Museum in 1967.
British Warship Recognition – The Perkins Identification Albums Volume II: Armored Ships 1860-1895, Monitors and Aviation Ships
British Warship Recognition – The Perkins Identification Albums Volume II: Armored Ships 1860-1895, Monitors and Aviation Ships is the second volume to the original Perkins collection and has been presented, again, in a large hardcover format. Although the title suggests this volume Perkins’s accounting for the British Monitors and Aviation ships, this 224 page pictographic edition of the, Perkins Albums, there are fourteen chapters covering more ships within the combined fleets of the British Royal Navy.
Introduction to the Perkins Collection by Andrew Choong
List of Abbreviations
List of Ships Included in this Volume
Royal Sovereign Class
Central Citadel Ships
Barbette and Battery Ships
Central Battery Ships
Lord Clyde Class
Prince Consort Class
Marshall Soult Class
Lord Clive Class
Abyssinia and Cerberus Class
Observation Balloon Vessel
Kite Balloon Ships
Hector, Menelaus and Canning
Manica and City of Oxford
Raven II, Engadine and Riviera
Manxman and Ben my Chree
Ark Royal (1914)
Ark Royal (1938)
As you can see from above, over the 224 pages of this book, Perking accurately outlines sixty-eight individual ships as well as classes of vessels beautifully reproduced from Richard Perkins original hand drawn works. With the inclusion of certain classes of ships within this book, include all of the ships included in those classes and are not outlined in the table of contents. However, there is a copy of Perkin’s handwritten “List of Ships” that are included in this particular volume from page 20 to page 21 and outlines every ship contained within. This means there is far more ships listed within this book than what is listed. The original etchings, which still reside in the National Maritime Museum, were created on sheets of vellum that were 11 inches by 15 inches. Every effort has been made to accurately reproduce these drawings to their exact size and coloring for this book. This is the reason for this book being as large as it is.
The exactness to detail by Perkins is world renown within the nautical community. Each ship has been recreated from original glass negatives and are hand drawn with several pertinent notations included with each entry to define commissioning, color, upgrade and modifications. In many cases, subtle changes between ships or multiple ship’s modifications are noted with inset detailed drawings focusing on these changes.
This volume differs slightly from the first Volume released by Seaforth Publishing in that the first volume contained only battleships and battlecruisers and Volume 2 contains a wide range of types of ships spanning the years between 1860 and 1939. One of the more special focuses of this volume are in fact the listing of monitors and aircraft carriers.
Individual Volumes of the Perkins Collection certainly do not need due to the fact that the entire collection as a whole is an amazing accounting to the British fleet of ships between 1860 and 1939 and that it is also a highly coveted resource used by historians and enthusiasts when referencing any of these ships to this day. Richard Perkins dedicated himself to categorizing each of these ships in such detail and with as much accuracy as was possible. I can confidently say after seeing Volume I and now with British Warship Recognition – The Perkins Identification Albums Volume II: Armored Ships 1860-1895, Monitors and Aviation Ships, that these reproduced volumes form the Perkins Collection would make an essential addition to anyone’s personal library.
Model Shipwrights would like to thank Pen & Sword Books, Ltd. for providing us with a copy of British Warship Recognition – The Perkins Identification Albums Volume II: Armored Ships 1860-1895, Monitors and Aviation Ships for this review. You can find this and many more fascinating publications by visiting pen-and-sword.co.uk