Aronnax's Cabin

This cabin, only 2Ĺ meters long and the farthest forward, is seriously affected by the hullís spindle shape.  Although nearly three meters wide at its aft end, it tapers to about 1Ĺ meters, forward.  The floor area, about 5ĺ m2,  is further restricted by the two doors required by the text, one communicating with Nemoís cabin and one to the forward corridor.  I considered using built-in furniture, a common maritime approach, to take advantage of the hull curvature, but Aronnaxís mention of elegant furnishings led me to use freestanding pieces.

All furnishings are appropriate to the period.  The brass bed, scaled down to single size, is modeled after one Karen and I have in our guestroom.  The desk is based on an antique I saw pictured at an antique furniture site although its depth is severely reduced to fit.  The washstand top is based on another antique, but the base is derived from the desk.  The mirror is also modeled after an antique.  I found the tapestry in a catalog.  The oriental rug texture is from 1001 Oriental Rugs. The furnishings are nearly complete.

Settling on the captainís suite concept, I considered Nemoís interests when selecting wall decorations. Drawings and designs of early submarines seemed appropriate. The finished cabin features Robert Fultonís water colors of his submarine concept and a drawing of his own Nautilus, dated to the beginning of the 19th century.

View from the corridor
I've used existing models where possible.  The chair is by Dan (DD) Nichols, the books by Maz, and the wash bowl by Eric Van Dycke.  The bedding is modified from a model that carries no credit, except the quilt by Trimax.  The pitcher is also un-credited, but I've applied Eric's bowl texture. 
Looking starboard

In my original design this cabin was a uniform 2Ĺ meters wide for a floor area of about 6Ĺ m2. A larger area would have been achieved by angling the walls as I did here.  A more important difference was the presence of a single door rather than the two here, allowing much more leeway in placing furniture.  Leo Arnold has suggested placing the bed on the forward wall would result in better use of the available space.

What was the purpose of this small room before Professor Aronnax took possession?  The possibility that Captain Nemo designed it as a guestroom isnít unreasonable, but an empty cabin on a submarine is waste of precious space.  Here are several other possibilities:

  • Considering that Nemo may have begun designing the Nautilus many years before it was built, this room adjoining the captainís might have been intended for his wife.  Since the room can just barely contain a bed, it might have been planned as a sitting room, or other refuge for the lady.
  • Sylvain St-Pierre suggests it could have been the mateís cabin.  In Victorian times, and indeed now, the captain and officers are housed separately from the rest of the crew.  The mate does appear with the captain during the first, silent, meeting with the castaways.  I think the connecting doorway makes this a less likely possibility.  I would expect a door from Nemo's cabin into the corridor, as I placed it in my original design.   
  • I lean toward this room being the sleeping quarters Nemoís suite, with the larger cabin serving as an office or work room.  The separation would allow a crewman to come in via the corridor to make up the bedroom without disturbing Nemo at work in the larger cabin.  When Aronnax appeared, obviously of a higher class than his servant and the harpooner, Nemo, the gracious host, moved out of the bedroom and had a bed and other furniture brought from the crew quarters to his office, which is large enough to hold it.

What do you think?  E-mail me


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12 Apr 03