Friday 29 November 2019

Book Review: Glasgow Museums, The Ship Models

Wow... What an incredible book!

This chunky near square deluxe hardback coffee-table type book is a thing of incredible beauty. Both as an object in itself - chock-full of richly coloured beautifully crisp photographs of stunning models - and for what it documents. Since this arrived a couple of days ago I've lost myself repeatedly in awe and wonder, simply perusing the fabulous images. I've only skimmed small portions of the text, so I won't say anything for now about that aspect. Visually this deserves ten stars. It's simply jaw-droppingly stunning.

According to the books subtitle, A History and Complete Illustrated Catalogue, it covers the entire collection, making it not only enchantingly seductive, but fabulously complete and comprehensive. The ship models in the collection cover an impressive range: from models depicting the 'age of sail', including some amazing creations crafted by prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars, through all manner of vessels, from the enormous and/or ornate, to the small, simple and humble. From skiffs and tugs to Noah's Ark (!?) and huge models of modern vessels. From rudimentary half-hulls, to staggeringly detailed ships.

If you love ship models, which to me encapsulate so many things, from the strange but compelling desire we have to make miniature representations of our inventions, to the almost fairytale romance and sublime/terrifying awe of our relationships with the elemental seas, this is an essential publication. Beautifully produced, an honourable homage to the vast expenditure of skill and passion that the objects it depicts represents. Awesome is a much overused and devalued term nowadays. But it really does fit the bill here.

A lot of books of this ilk are shamefully overpriced. At £35 this is actually fair, and good value. Highly recommended.

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