Exhibition: "Jylland at Jylland - The Arts gets onboard"
Site: The Fregate Jylland, The Captains Cabin, The Gun Deck
Materials: Wood, glass, a variety of seashells, conch lamp and a green bottle.
The Artist Association Jylland have embarked on Fregatten Jylland and have created various artworks in dialogue with the ship, its interior design and history. The works are spread around and placed in the areas where the artists have found their inspiration.
A Captains Valentine is 1of 3 artworks we have made for the exhibition. The work is completed when installed in the Capatains Cabin, in dialouge with the interior design and the life seize dool of a Captain, adding layers of imagination for the large audience visiting the museum.
About "A Captains Valentine" : In the Captains cabin, the captain is occupied with a meticulous craft. On the table in front of him a Sailor´s valentine is placed - a octagonal wooden boxe, in which a neat pattern of seashells has been laid, and the captain is in the process of completing it. The myth behind Sailors valentine is that the longing sailors made such boxes to their loved ones at home, when they had a quiet moment at sea. However, the objects of sentimental message, was not made by sailors, but by women of the island Barbados. However we wanted to give him something to do. Imagining this captain is taking time off his duties on the battleship, to let himselves be immersed in his pursuits. The messages in the boxes describes some of the harsh realities and problems sailors might had at sea in the 18th century.
Sailors’ valentines are octagonal wooden boxes. They were made between 1830 and 1880, and are now extremely rare. The box, which opens like a book, reveals an intricate mosaic created mostly from shells. The shells used were in a variety of shapes and colors to create intricate motifs such as hearts, anchors, and flowers, or they could be arranged in complex geometric patterns. The mosaics are protected by a glass pane; when closed these boxes could be easily stored, making them ideal for the voyage home by sailors in the navy or aboard whaling ships. In addition to being a colorful and decorative souvenir from their travels, these boxes had sentimental motives. Messages were often incorporated into the shell design such as: “To a Friend,” “Think of Me When Far Away,” “Remember Me,” “With Love,” “Forget Me Not,” and “Home Again.” (source of text and more about). Altough we imagine the Captain taking a brake from his duties, the main source of sailor´s valentines was not made by sailors, but by women of the island Barbados.
Photo: Gert Petersen, Sonic Jensen and Randi & Katrine