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.

107512 items
RIBA125255Design for GPO telephone kiosk: front and side elevations of appartus assembly for kiosks number 1 and number 2

 
RIBA125256Design for GPO telephone kiosk number 2: full size details

 
RIBA125257Unexecuted design for a studio home for the Hon. Richard Hare and his wife, the sculptor Dora Gordine, at Merton Lane, Highgate, London: north-east view


RIBA125258Design, as executed, for Shiraz Airport, Shiraz

 
RIBA125259Preliminary design, not as built, for Abadan International Airport, Abadan: airside perspective

 
RIBA125260Design for Abadan International Airport, Abadan: landside perspective


RIBA125261Fountain of St George exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition: sketch design for one of the four tazzas, a part of the central feature (preliminary design)

 
RIBA125262Fountain of St George exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition: sketch design (final design)

 
RIBA125263Joseph Sturge Memorial, Five Ways, Birmingham: plaster version of final design


RIBA125264Design for a rusticated gateway with a large tablet above and details of various elements drawn in the openng

 
RIBA125265Design for an entrance pavilion with alternatives

 
RIBA125266(left) Half-elevation of an arched entrance flanked by Composite pilaster and surmounted by tablet between console and urn; (right) half-elevation of arched entrance with vermiculated voussoirs and heavy broken pediment


RIBA125267Two half-elevations of arched openings in complex decorative architecture

 
RIBA125268(left) Half-elevation of a rusticated opening with a detail of a console drawn within the opening; (right) half-elevation of an entrance (in a screen?) with a semi-circular opening over the doorway

 
RIBA125269(left) Half-elevation of a nniche in an upper storey; (right) half-elevation of a square-headed entrance with three super-imposed pediments


RIBA125270Four doorways: (1 & 2) profile and front view in half-elevation of an entrance with a balustrade above; (3) half-elevation of a doorway flanked by Doric half-columns or pilasters, a broken and curved pediment above enclosed in another, triangular pediment; (4) half-elevation of a doorway with consoles and a triangular pediment

 
RIBA125271(left) Half-elevation of a gateway with double, rusticated attached Ionic columns flanking the square opening with broken, curved pediment framing an elaborate device containing a blank cartouche with the date 1612 beneath the cartouche; (right) half-elevation of the tabernacle over the entrance door in Michelangelo's Medici Chapel (1524) in San Lorenzo, Florence, with profile at left and plan beneath

 
RIBA125272(left) Half-elevation of a doorway with broken pediment supported on large console, large seated figure on pediment; (right) half-elevation of doorway with triangular pediment supported by a panel which surrounds part of the upper doorcase


RIBA125273(left) Half-elevation of an arched entrance, flanking pilaster and figure in niche at lower left; (right) half-elevation of an arched entrance surmounted by a frieze and a tablet with a broken curved pediment supported on foliage consoles

 
RIBA125274(left) Half-elevation of an arched entrance with double pediments above; (centre) half-elevation of an entrance flanked by Corinthian columns (or pilasters) with frieze and cornice surmounted by broken curved pediment containing a tablet with a triangular pediment above that; (right) Half-elevation of a doorway with details of the console and door mouldings

 
RIBA125275(left) Half-elevation of a doorway flanked by a rusticated Doric pilaster with curved pediment; (centre) half-elevation of a doorway with triangular pediment; (right) half-elevation front view and two profiles of Michelangelo's door from the vestibule to the reading room in the Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana), Florence


RIBA125276Brancepeth Castle, County Durham: the old gateway

 
RIBA125277Chiesa de Santa Maria de Carignano de Sigri Sauli (Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano), piazza Carignano, Genoa: elevation of the facade

 
RIBA125278(left) Half-elevation of an arched entrance with broken pediment; (right) half-elevation of a doorway with triangular pediment


RIBA125279(left) Half-elevation of square-headed entrance with brick surround and stone voussoirs, flanked by a herm supporting a broken curved pediment which contains and is in part surmounted by a superstructure with a tablet; (right) half-elevation of a square-headed entrance above a flight of six steps flanked by a niche with a tablet over, a curved and scrolled pediment, within the pediment a tablet with a superstructure

 
RIBA125664(left) Half-elevation of a square-headed entrance above a single step, a female figure in profile above a large curved console, broken triangular pediment with standing figure with shield and spear; (right) half-elevation of a square-headed entrance above two steps (possibly intended as a variant of the previous design), double Doric pilasters with niche between, broken triangular pediment with standing cupid, above and set back is a curved pedim

 
RIBA125665(left) Elevation of part of an entrance screen with half-elevation of square-headed entrance with semi-circular element over, half-elevation of plain arched opening and, below, a rusticated dormer window; (right) half-elevation of an arched entrance with giant keystone, rusticated Doric columns, balustrade above, and, below, a part-plan


RIBA125666(left) Half-elevation of an arched entrance with rusticated piers and narrow facetted voussoirs and broken triangular pediment; (right) half-elevation of an entrance and profile of the same at right

 
RIBA125667(left) Half-elevation of an arched, rusticated gateway of an extremely elaborate design with heavy curved and broken pediment with a crouching lion and a seated female figure holding a cornucopia; (right) half-elevation of an arched gateway with facetted rustication with above a shallow broken pediment within which is a rusticated dormer or tablet with a broken curved pediment above that

 
RIBA125668St Etienne-du-Mont, Paris: east side doorway to the rood screen with alternative grille designs to right and left


RIBA125669St Etienne-du-Mont, Paris: west side doorway to the rood screen with alternative grille designs to right and left

 
RIBA125670St Etienne-du-Mont, Paris: section of side doorway design to the rood screen as seen in RIBA125669, with plan of left-hand side of doorway

 
RIBA125671Elevation of an arched entrance gateway with niches in the piers at either side, with a tablet above centre with a triangular pediment and, at either side above the arch, reversed segmental pediments with reclining figures