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Jane, Fred T. (Frederick Thomas), 1865–1916

Ironclads of the world / Fred. T. Jane.

Physical Description:
1 volume (304 pages) : watercolor, pen and ink ; 29 x 39 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2015 21
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
The author, Fred T. Jane, was a British author, illustrator, and sometime politician. He had an obsession with ships, one which he channeled into a series of reference volumes titled All the world's fighting ships, which offered data on the various navies of the world and their naval equipment. These volumes became important sources of naval intelligence for militaries and policymakers throughout the twentieth century, and pioneered a genre of information collection and presentation that continues today. Jane's work became the foundation of Jane's Information Group, a contemporary publishing and open-source intelligence corporation. As the first edition of All the world's fighting ships was published in 1898, it is possible that Ironclads of the World represents an unpublished forerunner to Jane's later work.
Title from cover.
Bound in contemporary quarter leather (rebacked) and cream cloth.
Volume of approximately 125 ink drawings and watercolors by Fred T. Jane depicting various ironclads, warships, and other naval vessels. Text accompanies each image, and the images as a whole are divided into sections according to the nationality of the ship. The volume includes European naval and colonial powers, like France, Britain, Germany, and Italy, while also including the United States, Chile, China, Japan, and a variety of other navies.
The drawings show ships at sea and, in some cases, at port or in drydock. While the entirety of the ship is generally depicted, the views vary, with some shown from the front, others from the side, and all at various distances. Some are drawn against stylized backgrounds -- with brilliant sunsets or dramatic landscape -- while others are depicted in isolation on an empty body of water. Several drawings are unfinished. Some are drawn directly onto the page, while others are pasted on to sheets of the album. Some drawings are damaged, ripped in a way that suggests attempted removal. A few are labeled, in graphite, as “from sketch.” In one case, a newspaper clipping is glued to the page to give details on the ship depicted.
The text that accompanies each image provides details about the ship and its history. The information generally includes the ships name, specifications regarding construction, arms, and armor, country of origin and production, sister ships, and years built and in service. Occasionally, the text includes ownership histories. Some ships have lengthy accompanying texts, which discuss the service of the ship or its sister ships. One entry reads: “The Vanguard belonged to this class. She was rammed and sunk by the Iron Duke off Dublin.” Other texts appraise the quality and construction of the ship; for example: “The captain of the Imperieuse complained (1888) that she would not steer straight, unless going at full speed. The armour of both these vessels is under water when all stores are on board owing to a fault of the designers.” At times, Jane's appraisal is quite brief: “she is an utter failure.”
Subject Terms:
Armored vessels -- Pictorial works.
Great Britain. Royal Navy -- Pictorial works.
Navies -- Pictorial works.
Warships -- Pictorial works.
Ink drawings.

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