On the drawing board is the production drawing for The Seaman’s Chest. Solid oak, hand finished leather and gunmetal combine to form this traditional seaman’s chest. The box, 30in long 23in high and 18in deep is opened by way of a lid and cupboard drawers. It provided what was once the only “stow” for a serving officer’s or seaman’s personal effects. Acid etched and polished gunmetal detail the chest whilst the handles sport the bearer’s insignia. Corner covers protect the oak from damage caused by the inevitable rough handling on and off-board ship. An officer’s chest is unique in that the stand is left behind on shore where it serves as a decorative setting, perhaps for a vase of flowers or mementos of the departed gentleman. More information on the original purpose of the Seaman’s Chest can be found on the Royal Museums Greenwich website here.
Researching the project led Mark Lewis to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich; the final design included both traditional and contemporary navel technology. The piece was commissioned by a rum distilling company as a gift to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York on the occasion of their wedding, the chest was in fact never made, leaving the design and production drawings as the only testimony to a well-meant intention.