Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

  1. #1

    Default Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    I am looking for medieval manuscripts which show ships in a primitive view from above, like this. They were drawn in a curious mix of perspectives, with some elements seen in elevation but most from a bird's view. I recall such depictions, but I cannot remember where. I assume they must be all from the early or high medieval period.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,201

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    I'm a huge fan of Medieval ships*, seen hundreds of images, but have never seen depictions from above. I'd be fascinated if you could find any.

    Andy

    *13th century nefs, hulks and cogges from northern Europe, particularly.
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    15,783

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    primative and from above, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    2,919

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    I don't recall every seeing contemporary images from above. Knowledge of perspective was sketchy still, and the bird's eye view would have seemed strange. Your best bet is likely the Mary Rose, a Tudor ship built in 1510 and raised in 1982. Google the Mary Rose Trust for images. Also, a company called Caldercraft has worked with the Trust to develop a set of modellers plans based on the ship as found. Those plans likely have all the detail you might need. There is a book called The Tudor Navy that is pretty comprehensive of the period. It's out of print, but might be available used.

    - Norm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    San Francisco Bay
    Posts
    11,790

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above





    "Bird's eye views" were a popular subset of cartography long before men could ascend into the skies. I'm sure if one searched around, "bird's eye" drawings of harbors with boats in them might be found. I recall seeing "bird's eye" views in art in, IIRC, the Rijksmuseum along with the Van De Velder, the Elder, drawing above of the Dutch Navy. The Van De Velder is a large work and the level of detail is amazing. The picture at this site http://www.sailingwarship.com/wp-con...-The-Elder.jpg allows you to put your cursor over a spot and click and get a magnified image. You could build amazingly detailed models from his drawings and many have. I don't know if he produced any "bird's eye" views, though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    6,371

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Years ago Peter Stanford wrote an article in Sea History about someone who was in a small room high above a city, and sketched the likeness of various water craft on a window pane of glass. It survives as a window. Remarkable.
    Overhead views? What is this? one of those ancient alien threads?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Northern NSW Australia
    Posts
    74,034

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above



    A Western Australian Bradshaw image
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    2,919

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post

    "Bird's eye views" were a popular subset of cartography long before men could ascend into the skies. I'm sure if one searched around, "bird's eye" drawings of harbors with boats in them might be found. I recall seeing "bird's eye" views in art in, IIRC, the Rijksmuseum along with the Van De Velder, the Elder, drawing above of the Dutch Navy. The Van De Velder is a large work and the level of detail is amazing. The picture at this site http://www.sailingwarship.com/wp-con...-The-Elder.jpg allows you to put your cursor over a spot and click and get a magnified image. You could build amazingly detailed models from his drawings and many have. I don't know if he produced any "bird's eye" views, though.
    Van de Velder worked in the 1600's, Bob. The Medieval period ended in 1500.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,387

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    The closest I've seen are contemporary photos of archaeological digs. Things get flattened out a bit over time, of course. Are you looking for a particular type of boat? Cogs have been fairly well researched and reconstructed.
    -Dave

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,201

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Here's a carrack by Bottecelli, painted ~1500 (way outside my period of interest) and squinty-enough to show "overhead" details - but Woxbox is right: what type of vessel are you specifically after?



    Andy
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  11. #11

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    what type of vessel are you specifically after?
    Ok, here we go. This is a very old wall graffito from Germany. At first sight, the depiction seems to be a mess of lines, but my theory is that it makes perfect sense, once you realize it actually combines two perspectives in one. You see one ship in elevation sailing to the right, and another in plan view going to the left. What do you think?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Place
    Posts
    732

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,201

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by longshore lubber View Post
    You see one ship in elevation sailing to the right, and another in plan view going to the left. What do you think?
    I'd buy that.

    The plan view is crude, maybe earlier. Twin steering oars possibly suggesting a Mediterranean vessel. The elevational view, maybe later, is technically better - though that steering oar appears to be on back-to-front.

    Nice find.

    Andy
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  14. #14

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    ...though that steering oar appears to be on back-to-front.
    You mean the curved blade of the steering oar would normally point in the other direction, towards aft?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,201

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    ...the extension? That's aft on other images. Extreme case:



    Andy
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    San Francisco Bay
    Posts
    11,790

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by outofthenorm View Post
    Van de Velder worked in the 1600's, Bob. The Medieval period ended in 1500.
    Yes, I'm aware of that. I used him as an example of the level of detail and accuracy of some of the old works. He didn't do "bird's eyes" either, as far as I know.

    Besides, pretty much everything medieval was boring, including their boats. They don't call them the Dark Ages for nothing!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    ...the extension? That's aft on other images.
    Ah yes. I have a question concerning the masts. Assume for a second the graffito shows only a single ship with two masts travelling to the right. But wouldn't it then be strange that the mainmast is clearly set up in the aft part? Isn't it that the main mast for a square rig is invariably set up slightly forward midships to make the ship move forward by wind propulsion at all? Obviously, this construction rule must apply just as well to a two-master to make it sail without the foresail. Would you agree?
    Last edited by longshore lubber; 11-14-2013 at 07:54 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Primitive Depictions of Medieval Ships Seen from Above

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Besides, pretty much everything medieval was boring, including their boats. They don't call them the Dark Ages for nothing!
    After all the Vikings were the first maritime culture to sail, explore and trade on four continents. Astounding feat with the light so little.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •