Too small to stand in the line of battle and lacking the speed of the frigate, the 50-gun ship was often dismissed as a dinosaur. This book reveals the crucial role the 50-gun ship played in the development of both the battleship and the frigate and this is the first study of the type, from its development in the eighteenth century and its gradual transition from battlefleet to heavy cruiser role. They were revived for the special conditions of colonial warfare during the American Revolution and thereafter, were employed as peacetime flagships for distant stations, achieving final glory leading small craft in anti-invasion operations during the Napoleonic War. The "horrible old Leopard," so described in the fiction of Patrick O'Brian, is the subject of the detailed drawings and plans
The 50 gun ship (with two gun decks), classed as a Fourth Rate, and was a long lasting ship type, being built from the 1630's through to 1810, and in service till about 1850 or so. It was used in the 'Line of battle' till about 1750, when it was decided that it was too small. The book has a large number of Admiralty draughts, photos, and a set of isometric drawings, with an A3 size, two sided drawing of the Leopard, which includes both the rigging and sail plan as well. The Leopard also appears on the front of the dustjacket where the stern is shown in colour. The Leopard is one of the ships in the Aubrey-Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian, where it is called the horrible old Leopard! As a ship type it proved to be invaluable to the Navy, being sufficiently large to be of use for sending all over the world, for 'showing the flag', and also for convoy duty. In all a most useful and well researched book, worthy of a place on any ship modellers or ship lovers bookshelf; it is just over A4 in size and has some 128 pages, including a comprehensive index, and 2 appendicies.