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Collections1st November 2022

National Authors Day with Collections Manager Nick Ball

Did you know that 1 November is National Authors Day? To celebrate we wanted to share the work of our Collections, Galleries and Interpretation Manager, Nick Ball.

Nick is the Co-Author of  “Navy Board Ship Models” with Curator, Simon Stephens.

So Nick, what inspired you to write this book with Simon?

“Having studied maritime archaeology, I was keen to look at ship models from the perspective of an archaeologist studying a shipwreck. The Navy Board ship models from the late 17th and early 18th centuries hold a wealth of detailed information relating to shipbuilding practices and rigging of the period. But I was also interested in finding out what function the models played in a society that was incredibly maritime. The volume of trade, communication, war and travel conducted afloat meant that society revolved around the sea – ship models are a surviving remnant of this maritime society of which so much else has been lost.”

Image: Nick Ball with his book “Navy Board Ship Models”

“I began work studying the National Maritime Museum ship model collection, which is based in a state-of-the-art storage facility at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, working with Curator Simon Stephens to research and catalogue the models. Our research took us all over the place, across the UK and even to the Netherlands, and back to the Dockyard where we found out about the ship model makers that worked here, and the people who collected the models – like diarist Samuel Pepys and King Charles II. We put it all in this book, with lots of nice pictures and we published in 2018.”

This book is available in our Reading Room. You can book an appointment with our Collections team to use the Reading Room and read Nick’s book amongst a plethora of other fascinating maritime books.

Contact the collections team:

Navy Board Ship Models is also available for purchase online.

With thanks to Nick Ball for sharing his experience in writing this book.

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