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George Rix Seawitchartist

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The lid painting of my original tea chest is the red ensign, perhaps it's appropriate that it's at half mast, rather than being raised. I painted the original on the evening of the 3rd September 2000 , the first Merchant Navy Day.

First Merchant Navy Day

The lid painting of my original tea chest is the red ensign, perhaps it's appropriate that it's at half mast, rather than being raised. I painted the original on the evening of the 3rd September 2000 , the first Merchant Navy Day.  However that meant rushing it and I have since renewed it with this better painting, the old one forms an undercoat for it. Merchant Navy Day is celebrated on 3rd September, the dates significance is that it's the day merchant ship  Athena was sunk, the first British ship sunk in  the second world war. I went to Trinity Square in London myself to that first gathering, being a former  seaman, there were many war time veterans there. Trinity Square is home to the nations largest merchant navy war memorial. The names of every merchant seaman and fisherman lost in the two world wars are listed on the arch there with the name of their ship also.

 

The original China Tea Chest

The Original Tea Chest

 The original tea chest is really  a prototype for the others that came later to form the China Tea Chest collection. It began life, or better still, it's new life when I spotted it while out salving wood from a theatre props workshops refuse area, lots of quality wood to be found that was to good to dump there, but this derelict Indian tea chest looked beyond redemption, nonetheless I rather eccentrically perhaps decided that it would not die, it would rise like  a Phoenix from the ashes of it's former life, if it had a mind of it's own I'm sure it wouldn't have believed it's luck!  At the time the idea of making a decorative tea chest was forming and as I didn't have  a computer then, back in 2000 I really didn't know where to get such an item (eventually  the Cutty Sark would give me some, see the Cutty Sark tea chest)  so this one was not going to die. I did have to kick the bottom panel out, that was dead, and the tin side trimmings were to rusty to properly recondition so they were painted with metallic silver paint. A false bottom hides a strong foot frame and the inside has plywood panels glued in doubling the thickness of the chest, at the top another frame braces it there and allows the lid to be fitted. Fitted to three sides of the tea chest are framed prints of paintings by my favorite marine artist Jack Spurling, a great painter of clipper ships, he has influenced me quite a bit too. It's been with me for fourteen years now and serves to be  a place I hoard books I can't bear to throw away! The rope you see around the top is also something that was rescued from the grave, it's a discarded piece of the Cutty Sark's rigging! I saw it down in the dry dock beneath the ship and went over the fence and down towards the keel to fetch it. I had a long job cleaning out the Stockholm tar that it had been treated with, but there it is, another piece of that ship in my house!

   

 

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All text and images and linked images are 2003-2015 George Rix. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email me at copyright@seawitchartist.com