The Colour Blue in Historic Shipbuilding from Antiquity to Modern Times
Every once in a while a new book is published that defies simple classification but, simultaneously, turns out to contain so much useful and intriguing information that it cannot be ignored. The Colour Blue in Historic Shipbuilding is just such a work. Its title would classify it instantaneously as esoterica, of interest only to a minute audience of obsessive researchers, but the reality of this book is very different.
One central component of Müllerschön’s work is a breathtakingly thorough chronological analysis of the pigments and binders used through history to manufacture blue paints. This alone makes The Colour Blue in Historic Shipbuilding essential reading for professionals working in most aspects of historic restoration, renovation, or reconstruction, well beyond the confines of maritime contexts. Within the narrower field of ship models, reference to this analysis will be essential for restorers of historic models and those wishing to create accurate new models. His chronology provides all the data necessary to ensure that the specific pigments and binders are appropriate for the period of the model.
The second main component illustrates the use of this great variety of blue paints. Müllerschön draws on museum and gallery collections for images of models and contemporary artwork that demonstrate the range of usages through time.
A third possibly quite fortuitous element is the history of ships and boats that Müllerschön’s illustrations create. It is quite possible to read The Colour Blue in Historic Shipbuilding as an outline history of shipbuilding from ancient Egypt to present-day recreations of historic vessels.
A work like this ultimately stands or falls on the quality of its presentation. Print-on-demand works generally do not have a high reputation but The Colour Blue in Historic Shipbuilding defies this. The quality of image reproduction and typeface presentation is excellent and adds greatly to the work’s utility.
The Colour Blue in Historic Shipbuilding confounds expectations. Its topic indeed is esoteric but the book’s content and presentation give it a wide-ranging value and importance far beyond the limitations of its title
- Norderstedt: BoD -Books on Demand, 2019
- 7-3/4” x 11”, hardcover, 200 pages
- Illustrations, notes, references. €76.80
- ISBN: 9783749419883
Reviewed by Paul E. Fontenoy, Albuquerque, New Mexico