Over the years, Welles Henderson, the author of this intriguing book, noted that the majority of maritime museums throughout the world placed their emphasis on ship paintings, ship models, figureheads, navigation equipment, nautical tools and weapons but gave little insight into the daily life of the ordinary sailor. For over four decades, therefore, he has been collecting material in an attempt to fill the gap. This has been a great challenge as comparatively few real-life depictions of shipboard activities and the life of a sailor at sea were made during the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth century. There are countless ship portraits but very little of the human interest side of the sailor afloat. While many well-known expeditions, including that of Captain James Cook, had artists who accompany them, practically all their depictions were of flora, fauna, landscapes, and local inhabitants rather than shipboard life. Finding a piece here and a piece there, however, Welles Henderson has painstakingly succeeded in putting together a fascinating mosaic of the life of a sailor from the time of his going off to sea until his death on board or on shore.
The author focuses on the "ordinary" seamen in the American and British navies who manned and worked the ships, and he follows their story through manuscripts, journals, diaries, log books, rare books, paintings, prints, sketches, and photographs. Each chapter deals with separate aspects of a seaman's life aboard ship and ashore in the age of sail and early steam, covering the period from about 1750 to about 1910. There is also an extensive bibliography, for those readers wishing to pursue the subject further, and detailed source notes throughout.
The book is richly illustrated in color, with material taken from the extensive Henderson Collection, and includes many items never before publicly displayed or published. This Collection is now recognized by maritime experts as "unique, the fiest of its type, and world class." With its continued growth over the years, the author decided in 1960 to found the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, recently renamed Independence Seaport Museum, and this is now an internationally recognized institution and an important part of Philadelphia's waterfront development.
|Publisher:||Antique Collector's Club|
|Product dimensions:||8.64(w) x 11.08(h) x 1.14(d)|