David has been a life-long artist and model-maker. Growing up, he lived near Greenwich, England. Seeing the many wonderful models on display there as a child, he was hooked. David also visited the Cutty Sark while she was being restored in the mid 1950’s – a further inspiration. Each year his father took David to the Model Engineer Exhibition, then held in central London. There he met R. J. Collins, a noted ship model maker of the time, who was demonstrating how to copper a hull. They fell into conversation and Mr. Collins suggested David bring a model to show him the following year. Taking him literally, the next year David brought a 1:96 scale revenue cutter he was working on. It was suggested he join a local club; it was the Greenwich and District Ship Model Club. There he received considerable encouragement. David was made aware of authentic period plans at the Greenwich Maritime Museum and told to go there and ask for Len Tucker.
At the Museum, Len Tucker kindly showed David the drawers full of 18th and 19th century Admiralty plans. Together they selected Revenue cutter plans of 1812, which Len had photocopied. Len also told David he needed to learn how to research, then took him down to the Caird Library. At age 14, David was probably the youngest holder of a Reader’s Ticket ever!
David emigrated to Canada in 1968 and brought plans with him for a 64-gun ship of 1781. This he built at a scale of 1:48 over a period spanning 30 years. Entered in competition at the Mariners’ Museum in 2000, the model won a Silver and the prestigious Howard I. Chapelle Memorial Award for research. Following this, David was persuaded to write on the subject by Dr. Greg Herbert. The result was the Swan Class series of books. The first volume was published in 2004 by Pier Books, SeaWatchBooks’ predecessor company. Since then, David has been a professional ship modelmaker, researcher, conservator and writer as well as a teacher. He and Greg have hosted many ship model workshops over the past 16 years. David’s models are in private collections in the United States, Canada and Australia.