Photo of the Week - photographing a naval cot

Being involved in museum publication projects gives us an interesting insight into the museum collection. For Quintin Colville’s publication ‘The British Sailor of the First World War’ the studio digitzsed everything from naval uniforms and medals, to stunning Wyllies and historic photographs.

Photographic negative of a boxing contest on HMS Queen Elizabeth A boxing contest on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, 1915-16


One of the most interesting objects in the collection to photograph was a naval cot. The original image taken by the photographic studio was in 1998.

photograph of the naval cot Original photograph taken of the naval cot from 1998.


This is how the object looked when it arrived in the studio store room last year for the publication. The existing image was not representative of the object or its function. With Quintin and the conservation studio’s support it was decided that the studio would re-photograph the cot.

The new photograph of the naval cot The new studio photograph of the naval cot

A photographic shoot of this nature not only requires a lot of time from the studio for the set up, but also from other departments. The textile and paper conservation studios worked together to create a way to suspend the cot in the studio to be photographed. We don’t know when the cot will be assembled and suspended at the museum so having the opportunity to photograph it is not only great for the publication but also for the general public. The image provides a visual reference to the object’s story.

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