Patrick O'Brian: Novelist of the Sea

Yellow Admiral (painted by Geoff Hunt)

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A celebration of the author

Celebrate the writer Patrick O’Brian, acclaimed for his sea-faring novels featuring Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin (the basis of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), with writer and historian Nikolai Tolstoy, artist Geoff Hunt, historian and presenter Kate Williams and others.

O’Brian was a thorough researcher and consulted original documents, such as contemporary logbooks, memoirs, official letters as well as borrowing from the real-life naval exploits of the Scottish captain and politician, Lord Cochrane for his series. The fruits of this research also led him to write a biography of the naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage and was an inspiration for Stephen Maturin’s character. 

In 2017 the British Library acquired the diaries of Patrick O’Brian. 

Nikolai Tolstoy is a writer and historian and is Patrick O’Brian’s step son. He published the first volume of a biography in 2004, Patrick O'Brian – The Making of the Novelist.

Geoff Hunt is one of the world’s finest marine artists, and his paintings feature on the covers of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin books. Through his research, he is a leading authority on naval history and ship architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Image: Cover details from TheYellow Admiral. Painting by Geoff Hunt RSMA represented by Artist Partners Ltd. Image reproduced by kind permission of Harper Collins Publishers


Name: Patrick O'Brian: Novelist of the Sea
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546