Jean Boudriot

Jean Pierre Paul Boudriot , born March 20, 1921 in Dijon and died February 22, 2015 in Paris, is a French architect also known for his publications on ancient weapons and naval architecture.

He is one of the main actors 1 of the revival of naval archeology and its material expression, the modelism of arsenal . He is the author of four volumes, The ship of 74 guns , Treaty of naval art of naval architecture of the xviii th century. His works on ancient weapons are also references for collectors.


Professional career

Son and grandson of architect, Jean Boudriot will follow the family tradition by devoting his studies to this profession, facilitated by its natural orientation towards drawing 2 .

Admitted to the Beaux-Arts in 1942, he acquired a scrupulous approach to the sharpness and precision of drawing, training focused on design and construction techniques but also a familiarization with engineering. He will meet his wife who was studying sculpture there.

In 1943, to escape the STO and leave for Germany, he chose to work on a farm in Burgundy then in a shale mine near Autun , where he was used to push carts until May 1944.

After graduating in architecture in 1947, he created an agency with three friends of fine arts. He has the opportunity to work with architect Pierre Lejeune, in Paris. The post-war period is favorable for reconstructions and the architecture firm is developing rapidly. Without really specializing in a particular field, he works for housing, office buildings, community buildings, schools, etc. He is also responsible for the creation of several prestigious buildings in Paris 3 .

The French gun

French firearms , first edition.

The job of architect being very addictive, he feels the need to find a derivative for his free time. Collector of ancient weapons, he notes, while trying to identify his acquisitions, that there really are not any specialized works on the subject. He decides to create an easily accessible documentation by regrouping in a book the information available in archives. He then notes that these ancient texts are not sufficiently explicit and that it remains difficult to identify the weapons by their only written description.

His taste for drawing and his intellectual rigor led him to graphically represent so-called portable weapons in a precise manner in a publication he began in 1961. This four-volume collection was completed in 1971. Since then became a reference work for collectors of ancient weapons and was the subject of two reissues (1978 and 1997).

This activity having led him to frequent the Army Museum , he agreed to assume the presidency of his Board of Directors, a position he will hold until 1981.

The 74 gun ship 

Parallel to his work on portable armament, Jean Boudriot is interested in artillery and in particular naval artillery. Through a series of chance meetings, he is put in contact with the commander Vichot then director of the museum of the Navy . From this meeting will be born a rich collaboration 4 and it will open to him without restriction the doors of the museum and its reserves to study the armament of the Navy.

During the sixties, his research on naval artillery led him to become interested in the ships that carried this artillery and more specifically in those of the period which extends from 1650 to 1850, period which he will describe as “Classic” in reference to the terrestrial architecture. He will study major construction treaties such as that of Duhamel du Monceau , Vial de Clairbois and many other authors to acquire in-depth knowledge of naval architecture of the time. He also regularly attends the National Archives ,

Following the same approach that he adopted for weapons, he decided to study a particular ship by applying to detail in a comprehensive way in a book that will present the stages of its construction. He describes a vessel of 74 guns , typical vessel of the 1780s. In addition to the texts, this description is based on the careful examination of models preserved in national museums and more particularly on that of a large model. preserved in the National Museum of the Navy of Rochefort , of which it notes the detail of the provisions.

This statement will serve as a graphic basis for the illustration of the book called “The Vessel of 74 guns” whose drafting will require four volumes and ten years of work. On this occasion, he slipped into the shoes of the designers of the time and invested as a real construction project. The subject is organized in a way that follows the logic of the construction with the description of the frame and that of the equipment of the hull ending with the rigging. These three major stages correspond to the first three volumes, the vessel being thus fully described. The fourth volume deals more specifically with men and the use of the ship, it also presents a glossary of 1,800 specific terms .

The first of the four volumes was published in 1973 by Éditions des Quatre-Seigneurs, the three others will be published in 1974, 1975 and 1977, respectively. At the end of this first edition, he will resume his rights and will be responsible for the following reissues.


Jean Boudriot finds quickly that the majority of his readers 4 are modellers looking for rigorous and reliable documents. He then decided to continue his work on naval archeology, opening his research to other buildings by proposing additional works.

The information available in “The ship of 74 guns” are references, it relies on these sources detailing the particularities of other buildings. These monographs consist of a booklet that describes the selected ship is placed in its historical context and a set of plans 5 detailed and reprints illustrating construction. These sets of plans, which, in most monographs, present the whole frame, are the basis of the work of the arsenal model . All of these publications are based on first-hand information collected, such as for The Ship of 74 Gunsin period documents by systematically rejecting modern sources. It should be noted that these works are not works of model making but the rigorous representation of real buildings.

This series of seventeen monographs grouped under the name of “French Naval Archaeological Collection” illustrates a large part of the categories of ships existing in the French Navy of the classical period. They value the subject by bringing a lot of knowledge about the naval archeology they contain and which, until then, had been a little forgotten. In addition, other authors such as Gérard Delacroix , Jean-Claude Lemineur and Jacques Fichant bring their work to this collection by completing the range of ships proposed.

To these publications were added five historical reference books on the Navy dealing more generally with frigates and ships, sea artillery and Royal Navy uniforms. Finally, two books present, by many generously commented photographs, the models preserved in the French national museums.

To publish these monographs, Jean Boudriot is associated in 1979 with Hubert Berti 6 , one of his faithful readers, and both will create the company of ANCRE Publishing (for Naval Architecture Classical Research Edition). English translations are developed by David Roberts. Other translations are emerging (Italian, Spanish, German). At the same time, J. Boudriot and H. Berti create the Omega Editions specializing in the reprinting of ancient works on the navy. This last structure is integrated with ANCRE a few years later.

“The Vessel of 74 guns” and the monographs allowed the revival of a movement called arsenal modelism so named by reference to the models preserved in the museums and coming from the arsenals of the country. This type of model is designed to reproduce the most rigorous construction of ships.

Other activities

In addition to his research, Jean Boudriot has been animating since 1979 and for more than thirty years in collaboration with Eric Rieth, a naval archeology seminar that is held at the Navy Museum every Monday evening.

He has also collaborated on numerous specialized and general journals ( Neptunia 7 , La Gazette des armes , various historical journals, etc.). He is regularly asked to advise on the construction of replicas 8 , the identification of weapons or artefacts from underwater excavations and other subjects related to French naval archeology.


Reference works:

  • The French guns to: regulatory models , Paris, at the author, 1961-1971 ( repr. 1978 and 1997), 4to (Form BNF  FRBNF32930000 ).
  • The Vessel of 74 guns: a practical treatise on naval art , Grenoble, Editions des Quatre Seigneurs, coll.  “French Naval Archeology” 1973-1977 ( repr. 1978, 1983, 1997 and 2006), 4 volumes (Form BNF  FRBNF36258705 ).


  • The “Venus” frigate 18, engineer Sané, 1782 , Paris, ANCRE, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-179-01-8 ) ;
  • The “Cygne”: brig of 24, engineer Pestel, 1806-1808 , Paris, ANCRE, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-179-02-6 ) ;
  • The “Deer”: cutter, the manufacturer Denÿs, 1779-1780 , Paris, ANCRE, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-179-03-4 ) ;
  • Galiote bombs “La Salamandre”: 1752, manufacturer JMB Coulomb , Paris, ANCRE, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-179-04-2 ) ;
  • East India Company, 1720-1770 , vol.  1: Vessels: men, travels, businesses , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-178-12-7 ) ;
  • East India Company, 1720-1770 , vol.  2: The “Boullongne” (1759-1761): the builder G. Cambry ;
  • Trafficking and slave ship “L’Aurore”: monograph at 1/36 , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-178-13-5 ) ;
  • “The Rider”, 1776: lugger of the manufacturer D. Denÿs , Paris, ANCRE, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-179-05-0 ) ;
  • The Beautiful Hen, frigate XII of 1765 , 1986 ( ISBN  2-903-179-06-9 ) ;
  • The Shark, chébec, 1750 , 1987 ( ISBN  2-903-179-07-7 ) ;
  • Richard the Goodman, private corsair ship of the East Indies of 1779 , 1987 ( ISBN  2-903-178-18-6 ) ;
  • The boat Lanvéoc ferry Brest harbor the xvii th and xviii th centuries 1988 ( ISBN  2-903-179-08-5 ) ;
  • Schooner “La Jacinthe”, 1823: the engineer-builder Delamorinière , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-178-22-4 ) ;
  • History of the corvette, 1650-1850: “The Creole”, 1827: Prince de Joinville, San Juan of Ulúa, 1838 , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-178-23-2 ) ;
  • The merchant ship: ancien regime , vol.  1: historical study and monograph , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-178-26-7 ) ;
  • The merchant ship: ancien regime , vol.  2: “The Mercury”, 1730: ship to trade ;
  • “La Renommée”: frigate of VIII, 1744 , Paris, ANCRE, coll.  “French naval archeology”, ( ISBN  2-903-179-11-5 ) ;
  • The three-deck vessel of the Knight of Tourville , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”,, 2 volumes ( ISBN  2-903-178-27-5 ) ;
  • “La Belle”, 1684: Cavelier de La Salle, the 1684 expedition , Paris, J. Boudriot, coll.  “French naval archeology”,, 2 volumes ( ISBN  2-903-178-28-3 ) ;

Historical works:

  • 1992 Sea Artillery 1650-1850 ( ISBN  2-903-179-12-3 ) ;
  • 1992 The frigate, Marine de France 1650-1850 ( ISBN  978-2-903-179-11-3 ) ;
  • 1994 Vessels of 50 and 64 guns 1650-1780 ( ISBN  2-903-179-12-3 ) ;
  • 1995 Vessels from 74 to 120 guns 1650-1850 ( ISBN 2-903-178-19-1 ) edited erroneously 9 ;
  • 1997 Historical Models Navy Museum (vol.1)
  • 2003 French Royal Navy uniforms ( ISBN  2-903-178-29-1 ) ;
  • 2006 Historical Models Naval Museum (vol.2)

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Before his work, naval archeology concerned only academics and divers, the general public was interested little or not about the subject.
  2. ↑ According to the interview with P. Decencière in Neptunia o 254, with permission.
  3. ↑ Including several buildings in the XVI th arrondissement of Paris; corner of Foch Avenue and Traktir Street, for example.
  4. ↑ a and b Interview in Neptunia o 254.
  5. ↑ About ten plans at forty or so following the monographs.
  6. ↑ H. Berti is also co-author of several monographs by the assistance provided by J. Boudriot in his research.
  7. ↑ Neptunia , the magazine of Friends of the Maritime Museum has published 94 articles by J. Boudriot since September 1966.
  8. ↑ It was particularly consulted for the reconstruction of The Hermione and more recently that of a slave ship in Nantes.
  9. ↑ The ISBN is wrong as shown in the bibliographic record of the BNF (record BNF  FRBNF40219840 )

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