This well made sailor's sea chest is constructed of yellow pine with rope beckets. The wood grain is excellent and shows signs of once being painted. Inside the lid is the portrait of a clipper ship under full sail with the inscription: As she shone in the light of declining day: each sail was set and each heart was gay." The painting is marked with the initials G.V. Also inside the chest is a small ditty box also with painted lid.
By tradition this chest is associated with the Clipper TARANAKI, built in 1877 by Robert Duncan & Company, Greenock, Scotland- best known as the builders of the first Cunard liner BRITTANIA.
Built for Shaw, Savill and Albion Company, TARANAKI was 1126 tons, and her length 228 feet. Known as a fast trade ship TARANAKI was known to have made 24 voyages between New Zealand and England, the last of which was in 1914.
A photo of the TARANAKI is shown here for historical reference and comparison to the painting inside the chest which appears to be the ship. The chest comes with some material printed from online sources with a history of the ship which details her voyages and some diary entries of a crew member. Photos of the ship at shore and under sail are interspersed, including some harrowing shots of the ship in heavy seas with the deck swamped by the waves.
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