David Cordingly is a writer and maritime historian. He was on the staff of
the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich for twelve years where he
was Keeper of Pictures and then Head of Exhibitions. While at the
museum he organised a series of major exhibitions including The Art of the
Van de Veldes which was held in the Queens House at Greenwich; Captain
James Cook, navigator, which travelled to Australia in the Bi-centennial
year; Henry VIII at Greenwich (in collaboration with Dr David Starkey);
and the highly successful Pirates: Fact and Fiction. His book Under the
Black Flag was published by Random House in the United States where it
received enthusiastic reviews and led to him acting as curator for
exhibitions of piracy in New York, Virginia, and Nassau in the Bahamas.
His book Billy Ruffian: the Bellerophon and the downfall of Napoleon was
broadcast as Radio 4’s Book of the Week in 2003 and received excellent
reviews in the national press.
A graduate of Oxford University where he read Modern History, he
subsequently worked as a graphic designer in London, taught in Jamaica,
and was an exhibition designer at the British Museum. He was Keeper of
the Art Gallery and Museum at Brighton and then Assistant Director of the
Museum of London. He has a doctorate from the University of Sussex for
his thesis on the artist John Brett, and was awarded a Leverhulme research
grant which enabled him to complete his book on the life of the marine
artist Nicholas Pocock.
He was historical consultant for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean
starring Johnny Depp, has appeared on camera in several television
documentary programmes, and has been a regular contributor to BBC radio
programmes. In America he has given lectures at the Smithsonian in
Washington and many of the major maritime museums on the east and west
coast. In Britain he has given talks at the Royal Geographical Society, the
Cheltenham Literary Festival, and various museums and galleries. He has
been sailing since he was a boy and currently has a 26-foot Vertue which he
sails from Brighton Marina in Sussex. He is married to Shirley who works
as a garden designer. They live in small Regency house in the centre of
Brighton and have two children and three grandchildren.