Ocean Liners

Ocean Liners: Getting there is half the fun!

Images of four ocean liners from the RIBA Collections

Prior to the arrival of the “jet age” and, in particular, the commercial success of the Boeing 707 “airliner” ocean liners were the dominant mode of transport between continents not only carrying passengers but freight and mail. Today only Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2) continues that line’s advertising slogan of “Getting there is half the fun!” Indeed the QM2 is now the sole ship in service as an ocean liner albeit not exclusively as she is also used as a cruise ship.

Ocean liners and cruise ships are actually different types of vessels. Ocean liners have regular ocean going routes and being built for the open oceans tend to be stronger, faster and sleeker. In comparison cruise ships tend to be much boxier being largely designed to cruise around the calmer sailing conditions of sheltered waters.

Only a handful of ocean liners now survive, including the SS Great Britain (1843), RMS Queen Mary (1934), SS United States (1951), SS Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 (1967) as well as a couple, MV Astoria (built as the Stockholm, 1946) and MS Marco Polo (1964), now plying their trade as cruise liners.

Illustrated here are a number of photographs and drawings of ocean liners from the RIBA Collections including several with interior designs by renowned architects including those for the RMS Queen Elizabeth by the designer of the RIBA headquarters, George Grey Wornum.

Feature by Jonathan Makepeace.

SS Normandie
Ocean Liners

SS Normandie

Click on the image above to go to the Normandie gallery.

RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II
Ocean Liners

Orion & Orcades II

Click on the image above to got to go to the Orion & Orcades gallery.

SS Oriana
Ocean Liners

SS Oriana

Click on the image above to go to the Oriana gallery.

108594 items
RIBA4099Park House, Park Place, Cardiff, seen from the west

 
RIBA4100Design for the interior decoration of an unidentified cinema auditorium showing a Venetian canal scene

 
RIBA4101Details of the Corinthian and Composite capitals, Baths of Caracalla, Rome


RIBA4103Design for a wallpaper showing dragons and flames

 
RIBA4104Copy of a Pompeiian decoration from the Villa of Cicero showing green dancing figures on gold bars

 
RIBA4105Design for a wallpaper or textile entitled 'Alena'


RIBA4106Olive Cook

 
RIBA4107St Catherine's College, Oxford: the dining hall seen from the east

 
RIBA4109Design for a nursery chintz entitled 'The house that Jack built'


RIBA4110Detail of colour decoration on clustered columns and springing of vault, Sainte Chapelle, Paris

 
RIBA4111Design for a wallpaper or textile showing birds among flowers

 
RIBA4112Design for a nursery textile showing a shepherd, squirrel and bird in a tree


RIBA4113Design for a wallpaper entitled 'The Callum'

 
RIBA4114Design for a wallpaper showing birds among grapes and leaves

 
RIBA4115Design for a wallpaper for Sanderson and Sons showing roses, hips and leaves


RIBA4116Design for a wallpaper for Sanderson and Sons showing pairs of birds among stylized leaves

 
RIBA4117Design for a wallpaper for Sanderson and Sons showing birds among stylized leaves

 
RIBA4118Design for a textile for Alexander Morton entitled 'Fidelis'


RIBA4119Design for a textile entitled 'Huntsman'

 
RIBA4120Design for a textile for Alexander Morton showing cornflowers, wheatsheaves and crows

 
RIBA4121Design for a textile or wallpaper entitled 'Crown and Tulip'


RIBA4122Design for a carpet and textile showing strawberries, leaves, flowers and birds

 
RIBA4123Design for a wallpaper showing eucalyptus leaves and flowers

 
RIBA4124Design for a textile entitled 'The Rose and Shamrock'


RIBA4125Design for a textile showing stylized yellow roses

 
RIBA4126Design for a fabric showing yellow roses and rose hips

 
RIBA4127Design for a wallpaper entitled 'Symbols of the Arts'


RIBA4129Design, possibly for a nursery wallpaper, showing birds and a squirrel in a tree

 
RIBA4130Design, probably intended for a nursery wallpaper frieze, showing a rural scene

 
RIBA4131Design for a nursery wallpaper or a textile entitled 'Great Kings and Queens'


RIBA4132Design for a wallpaper or textile entitled 'I love little pussy, her coat'

 
RIBA4135Deepdene, Dorking, Surrey: approach to the entrance

 
RIBA4136Two designs for semi-detached houses for Romford District Council, one for Osborne Road, Romford, London