A Chesapeake emphasis

Monday Book Reviews

December 14, 1992|By John Goodspeed

BIRDS OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. Paintings by John W Taylor, with natural histories and journal notes by the artist. Johns Hopkins University Press. 86 pages. $34.95.

JOHN Taylor, the Anne Arundel County author and illustrator of this good-looking, oversized book of Chesapeake birds, didn't take painting seriously until after he left school and worked for the Smithsonian Institution's Division of Birds.

He has now been eminent in the field for decades, though. His painting of bay fowl illustrated the first Maryland migratory waterfowl stamp in 1974, another in 1979, the 1984 Florida waterfowl stamp and four of Maryland's conservation stamps.

His new book includes color reproductions of paintings of 39 species of bay birds, plus his short natural histories and personal journal notes on each. The text is well-written and well-organized.

"Birds of the Chesapeake Bay" is a must for bird lovers.

A HERITAGE IN WOOD: THE CHESAPEAKE BAY MARITIME MUSEUM'S SMALL CRAFT COLLECTION. By Richard J.S. Dodds and Pete Lesher. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels. Illustrated. 132 pages. $19.95.

THIS attractive paperback is almost certainly the No. 1 comprehensive reference book of small wooden boats built for work and pleasure around the Chesapeake Bay since the days of the Indians. It's a catalog of the small craft collection of the maritime museum in St. Michaels, the largest such collection in the nation, which means the largest in the world.

It includes photos (some very rare and published for the first time), blueprint-style line drawings (very precise) and good descriptions (some fairly technical) of the 76 different types of wooden bay boats collected at the museum over the past 25 years.

The book was put together by Pete Lesher, the museum's curator, and Richard J.S. Dodds, the former curator now moved across the bay to the Calvert Maritime Museum at Solomons.

All the familiar bay boats are here -- log canoes, skipjacks, skiffs -- and some of the unfamiliar -- sinkboxes, bushwhack boats, striker boats. Mr. Dodds and Mr. Lesher have grouped them under construction types -- log-built boats, round-bilge boats, V-bottom boats, flat-bottom boats and so on. A few modern boats made of fiberglass are mentioned, but the emphasis is on wood.

John Goodspeed writes from Easton.

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