Digital Library

De Nederlandsche Scheeps-bouw-konst Open Gestelt (Netherlands)

Cornelis van IJk, 1697






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The Author



Cornelis van IJk published this work in 1697 (26 years after Witsen’s manuscript). The first edition was printed by Andries Voorstad in Delft. As a shipwright from Delfthaven, Cornelis van IJk did not descend from an upper social class. He was a descendant of a family of shipwrights. As a son and grandson of ship carpenters, he became an apprentice on a shipyard at the age of 12. He must have been making drawings at an early age and after his uncle, also a shipwright, left him a thick pile of shipbuilding notes, he probably decided to write his book. In his book, van IJk discusses, a variety of topics: the history of shipbuilding, galley construction, English and French shipbuilding, timber and timber prices, sailing and outfitting ships, and so on. He also provides a table with overall measurements of different sizes of Dutch ships. Although van IJk writes from the standpoint of his experience as a shipwright and obviously knows very well what he is talking about, Witsen’s work is much more detailed.
Like Nicolaes Witsen in his book Architectura navalis et regimen nauticum, Cornelis describes the design and construction of a complete vessel from step one, but focuses more on practical than on theoretical matters. Unlike Witsen, he is obviously referring to a frame-based construction method used in Dutch shipbuilding during the 17th century, which probably made its way in to the Lowlands in the second half of the 17th century. It seems that the new shipbuilding technique was first introduced to the southern parts of the Netherlands and eventually made its way up north. The works of Witsen and Van IJk form the theoretical foundation of Dutch naval architecture in the 17th century, and also represent a change in construction method used in shipbuilding.