This week the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney received two new entries in one day! The second entry in our Kingdom’s Virtual Queens Prize Tourney is a gorgeous Mary Rose “Purser’s Chest” by artisan Coinneach Mac an Leigh. As we do not have the ability to converse with our entrants face to face, the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney now offers the opportunity to drool over images and read the documentation right there on the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences website – even to leave feedback! And to learn a little more about the artisan and their thoughts behind their entry, the organizers decided to broaden our traditional entry of object and documentation with personal interviews.


A full-scale replica of the Purser’s Chest as found aboard the Mary Rose, an English warship sunk in battle in 1545 and rediscovered in the late 1960’s.

Could you tell me a little about you, your persona?

Coinneach is a journeyman joyner and makes his living building wooden boxes, chests, and the like.  This entry is something he built for the Purser of the Mary Rose.

What inspired you to make your entry?

I saw this chest in “Before the Mast,” a volume in the “Archaeology of the Mary Rose” series, and was immediately struck by the desire to build a replica.  After thinking about it for several years, including corresponding with the historians at the Mary Rose Trust, I finally decided the time was right.

What is your intention with your entry?

The chest will be used for general storage, but to some extent the purpose is to demonstrate that period joinery is well within the grasp of the weekend woodworker.

Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?

After planning the project for as long as I did, the actual execution went smoothly.  I was able to use hand tools for almost all the operations; the lone exception was drilling pilot holes in the tips of the decorative bracket feet.  For that I used a cordless electric drill.

Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?

I would recommend anyone attempting to replicate an extant piece contact the curator as early as possible.  The staff at the Mary Rose Trust were unfailingly helpful, and were able to provide me with unpublished information about the Purser’s Chest that made the construction go easily.

What motivated you to enter the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney?

I had intended to enter the piece in Ice Dragon, but…

Anything else you would like to share?

I want to encourage everyone to take a chance.  You will learn more than you think you can by trying.  You will not fail; you may find a way that doesn’t work, but that’s just the process of elimination.

Thank you, Coinneach Mac an Leigh, for sharing your wonderful work with our Kingdom’s artisans and populace!

If you would like to see Coinneach‘s entry, follow this link. And if you liked his work, have a question to ask, or a tip to share – please leave your comments with his entry! You can “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the entry’s page. We have two more weeks to peruse, enjoy and interact with the entrants. Make use of the opportunity, if you can!

Would you like to enter your own project? The deadline for entering the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney is June 30th, and you can find all you need to know on how to enter on the KMOAS website.