The Editor's Notes



Warington Smyth wrote two very interesting books:  Five Years in Siam (1895), and  Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia (1906). He clearly possessed a good eye and some talent for pen and ink sketches, even if his prose rises to some purplish post-Victorian heights; his obsession with the connection between Asian craft and "The Boats Of The Ancients" can be excused as simple bad enthnography. And:

Every once in a while in the text you'll see this: <->. This means he tossed in some Greek, which I simply don't want to cope with in an HTML document.


I had to search high and low for a copy of  Mast & Sail. I'm certainly not a collector, so I depend on libraries. Unfortunately it seems that library copies are often missing bits and pieces, so as a result some plates and diagrams are missing (strikethrough style in the Table of Contents). If I can find another copy of the book, I will add these.

There are a few editorial changes, for example, discarding the omnipresent ' quotes ' in his original and in a very few cases de-hyphenating some terms. These were more or less arbitrarily made for what I consider better screen readability.

Furthermore, there are so darn many pen sketches - an average close to one per page - that scanning them all is a real burden. I finally hit upon a compromise: I'd scan a header for each chapter; a couple interesting sketches within each chapter; and the full-page wash drawings. To start with, only Chapter 12 has a complete set of drawings, because I want to emphasize Asian craft on The Cheap Pages.

Perhaps at some future time with more disk space and dedication I can get all of the sketches placed inline with the text. In the meantime I've left placeholding captions, and in the Table of Contents I've retained all the page numbers from the 1906 edition in case you want to go seeking certain sketches on your own. In any case, enjoy.

For more modern treatments of some of the boats Smyth describes, you should look for John Leather's books (such as Spritsail and Lugsail). Another very good book with high-quality photos of many of the UK boat types which Smyth sketches is the Naval Institute Press' Victorian and Edwardian Sailing Ships from Old Photographs by Greenhill and Giffard. For Indonesian vessels, the only reference going seems to be The Prahu by Adrian Horridge.


Worton, 10/31/98




Contents: Mast & Sail

The Cheap Pages