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.