In the sailing era First Rates were the largest, most powerful and most costly ships to construct, maintain and operate. Built to the highest standards, they were lavishly decorated and given carefully considered names that reflected the pride and prestige of their country. They were the very embodiment of national power, and as such drew the attention of artists, engravers and printmakers. This means that virtually every British First Rate from the Prince Royal of 1610 to the end of sail is represented by an array of paintings, drawings, models or plans.This book is a celebration of these magnificent ships, combining an authoritative history of their development with reproductions of many of the best (and least familiar) images of the ships, chosen for their accuracy, detail and sheer visual power in an extra-large format that does full justice to the images themselves. It also includes comparative data on similar vessels in other navies, so it is a book that everyone with an interest in wooden warships will find both enlightening and a pleasure to peruse.R IF WINFIELD is best known for his incredibly detailed three-volume series British Warships in the Age of Sail, published between 2005 and 2009, which covers every Royal Navy vessel built, purchased or captured between 1603 and 1817.