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The 74-Gun Ship Bellona (Anatomy of the Ship) by Brian Lavery

The 74-Gun Ship Bellona (Anatomy of the Ship)
The 74-Gun Ship Bellona (Anatomy of the Ship)
Brian Lavery
Formats available:
lrf lit lrf mobi
Conway Maritime Press; Revised edition (April 6, 2010)
120 pages
PDF size:
1880 kb
FB2 size:
1995 kb
EPUB size:
1723 kb

The '74' was the classic line-of-battle ship of the late eighteenth century, and Bellona was one of the most important and long lived. Launched in 1760 during the Seven Years War, she belonged to the first truly successful class of British 74-gun ships, a design by Thomas Slade that was built in large numbers over more than twenty years. Bellona herself served with distinction over 54 years, fought in four wars and was not broken up until 1814.

As part of the renowned Anatomy of the Ship series, this book provides the finest documentation of the Bellona, with a complete set of superb line drawings, supported by technical details and a record of the ship's service history.

  • Mallador
This report is a comparison of three excellent books on the anatomy of British ships of the line. The first two books are part of the popular Anatomy of the Ship Series. The third book is an old classic. Both the HMS Bellona and the HMS Victory were built in the late 1750’s.

“The 74-gun ship Bellona, Anatomy of the Ship”, by Brian Lavery, c. 1985, 120 pages. This book starts off 17 pages of text describing the history of the ship’s design (3 pages) and the history of the ship including a list of commanding officers, a good chronology, a discussion of her sailing qualities, and a history of maintenance cost (3 pages). The remainder of the text section covers details about structure, decoration, steering gear, grounding tackle, pumps, boats, sheathing the hull, crew, accommodation, mast and yards, standing rigging, running rigging, sails, and guns. There are 17 tables to go along with this text. This is followed by five pages of photographs which include five very nice photos of museum models and two paintings of fleet actions. The heart of the book is 92 pages of detailed drawings. There are 2 pages for hull lines; 2 pages for inboard profile; 16 pages of hull construction details; 4 pages of deck arrangements including their framing; 4 pages of decorations; 5 pages of external details; 10 pages of fittings including rudder, anchors, capstan and pumps; 4 pages of ship’s boats; 4 pages for accommodations; 14 pages for mast and yards; 15 pages for sails and rigging; and 10 pages for armament.

“The 100-gun ship Victory, Anatomy of the Ship”, by John McKay, c. 1987, 119 pages. This book starts off with 13 pages of text describing the history of the ship’s design (2 pages) including a table describing 34 1st rate ship designs, and the history of the ship including a list of commanding officers, a good chronology, and a history of maintenance cost (2 1/2 pages). The remaining text describes the layout, structure, decorations, steering gear, grounding tackle, pumps, boats, sheathing, crew accommodation, mast and yards, standing rigging, running rigging, sails and ordnance. The later text section is accommodated by 6 tables. This is followed by 14 pages of photographs of the ship at Portsmouth, including 8 interior photos. The heart of the book is 84 pages of detailed drawings. There are 12 pages of general arrangement drawings including inboard profile and decks; 22 pages of hull construction details including some wonderful perspective drawings; 14 pages showing 33 cross section views, all at 1/192 scale; 11 pages of fittings including many structural details; 1 page for ships boats; 2 pages for armament; 9 pages for mast and yards; 13 pages for rigging including some wonderful perspective drawings.

“The Anatomy of Nelson’s Ships”, by C. Nepean Longridge, c. 1955, 283 pages. This book is really about a project of building a detailed museum model of HMS Victory. This book is very different from the other two in that it is mostly text. However the detailed descriptions are still very useful for the historian. This book has 76 excellent photographs, mostly of the HMS Victory, along with a few photos of models of that ship and a few other sailing warships that have been preserved. There are 12 plan drawings, many of which are fold outs, at 1/196 scale of the HMS Victory. The book starts off with four pages about the history of the ship and her design. The book is organized into two main parts with 137 pages for the hull and 116 pages for the rigging. There are chapters for each deck, and six more chapters for each part of the rigging. This book also has almost 200 line drawings, some of which were details for building a model distributed logically to help the reader.

In conclusion, all three books have unique details to offer both the model builder and the historian. The serious reader will also want to get “The Construction and Fitting of the English Man of War, 1650-1850, by Peter Goodwin, c. 1987, 276 pages.
  • Lavivan
I had seen one of the books in the Anatomy of a Ship series before, and I was struck by the beautiful illustrations and the clarity of the presentation. However I did not know which example I had seen and I chose this one, on the Bellona, more or less at random.

Unlike the model makers for whom this book was probably intended, I am currently re-rigging a full sized 37 metre Barquentine and I purchased this book for inspiration on the rigging and handling of square sails. Unfortunately this one on the 74 gun ship is rather light on rig details, though it is strong on construction, armement and interior, but it was impossible to establish which book concentrates most on which aspect.

Fortunately I was able to find lots of alternative books such as "The Young Sea Officers Sheet Anchor" and "Masting & Rigging the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier", so the barquentine will set sail with an authentic rig anyway.

But this book does, after all, provide an excellent idea of the anatomy of the 74 gun ship, the mainstay of Britain's Navy for a vital period in her history.
  • Kitaxe
Excellent book that provides the detail of the ship. Good for modellers building ships of that period.
  • Ballardana
Verydvertised, fast delivery.
  • Kaim
At last! My husband and I have been waiting for this particular edition to be reprinted for years. Not having it meant he had to rely on other, scantier sources. It's re-availability means that this classic, a source book which has the best information, has again become available. For those interested in historic ship building the 74-gun ship Bellona is the ultimate classic. We're glad it's back in print.
  • Biaemi
Awesome book and it comes with plans of the ship, not the belaying plan but is ok.. everybody should have this specially ship modelers. Lot of modelers made a nice model from this book, that is way I buy it in the first place.
What an excellent book for the model maker
This a great book, so why the 2 stars? The book states on the cover that it is a revised edition complete with 1/96 scale fold-out plan. Well when they revised the book I guess they took the fold-out plan "OUT". I couldn't find it. I bough 4 books in this series and they all say the same thing but NO PLANS. If it wasn't that the other information in the book is great I would have returned all 4. Still a disappointment.
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