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.

107777 items
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

RIBA125672Two half-designs for cartouches with strapwork scrolls, foliage etc.

RIBA125673Elevation of an arched entrance gateway with a complicated decorative scheme

RIBA125674Elevation of a city (?) gateway with a large arched central entrance and very narrow doors either side with very elongated voussoirs above them and a triangular pediment

RIBA125675Elevation of an arched gateway with a relatively simple lower part, a broken segmental pediment surmounted by military trophies and framing an elaborate cartouche flanked by two female supporters

RIBA125676Three half-design cartouches

RIBA125677Elevation of an arched entrance with alternative designs for certain elements to left and right

RIBA125678Half-design for a cartouche

RIBA125679Elevation of the Porte Saint-Antoine, Paris

RIBA125680Three half-elevations of designs for entrances

RIBA125681Elevation of an arched entrance plainly rusticated, with triangular pediment surmounted by flaming grenades and a blank shield in the pediment

RIBA125682Elevation of the doorway of the Pavillon Conti at the Chateau of Montceaux

RIBA125683Two half-elevations of rusticated, arched entrances

RIBA125684Two half-elevations of rusticated, arched entrances, one with curved pediment and the other with triangular pediment

RIBA125685Elevation of an arched entrance supported on piers having a keystone with lion mask, broken segmental pediment with blank cartouche and surmounted by a triangular pediment

RIBA125686Drawing of Flora in a garden with architectural details in the background

RIBA125687Elevation of a window or possibly an opening in an entrance screen, possibly for the Chateau de Montceaux

RIBA125688Two half-elevations for doorways

RIBA125689Seven drawings of entablatures

RIBA125690Drawings of five cornices and a profile

RIBA125691Two half-elevations of doorways with tables and pediments above

RIBA125692Two half-elevations of doorways

RIBA125693Design for the central doorway of an entrance screen with plan beneath and alternative designs to left and right

RIBA125694Design for a fountain, Royal Dairy, Frogmore, Windsor

RIBA125695Designs for alterations and additions to the existing house, Scarisbrick Hall, Lancashire: ground floor plan showing proposed alterations

RIBA125696Design for an unidentified classical pavilion

RIBA125697Design model for the Fitzwilliam Chapel, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

RIBA125698Design model for the Fitzwilliam Chapel, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

RIBA125699Design model for the Fitzwilliam Chapel, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

RIBA125700Design model for the Fitzwilliam Chapel, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge