Admiral Sir Robert Smart
The inspiration behind the design: This outfit is the only one in the collection that is directly copied from an outfit from the period; a Royal naval, commissioned officer's, uniform. To see the original please click here.
The inspiration behind the concept: There had to be a naval uniform in this collection to reflect how important naval strength was to Britain's international ambitions during the early part of the nineteenth century; building as they were on the successes of Horatio Nelson.
An officer's uniform, attributed to a sailor who would achieve the rank of Admiral at first site this piece seems merely to be meant to impress, and to imply military status, in just the way the orginal would have been.
However if you look closely at the cream paper tablecloth that the knee length breeches (and the lining of the frockcoat's tails) are made of you will see not only pale pencil text but small images of tall ships and long lengths of bumpy land along the horizon.
These images are copies of the drawings of a sailor called Thomas Leeke Maisie, 1802 - 1898 produced during his voyage on HMS Satellite, Spithead-Monte Video
- Valparaiso - Portland Bill, Apr 1833 - Jul 1836, probably kept by Massie when a Lieutenant
The ship was being captained by Robert Smart.
Reproducing aspects of each involved printing photographs taken of the pages of his 175 page diary on a visit to the Caird library at the National Maritime Museum. Onto some pages he'd stuck long, extra, folded (concertina style) pieces of paper with drawings of the approaching continents he was seeing from deck stretching from left to right).
Selcted areas were then copied by hand.
To hear a lttle of the background research behind Admiral Sir Robert Smart in this interview between Stephanie Smart and Kat Diuguid for The Textile Society of America
Please click on these images to magnify
The epaulette coils were formed using gold Misuhiki chord (made of rice paper).The flat top is card covered in a waxy paper with a crinkled surface, painted gold and stitched.
To read more about any aspect of this piece please click here