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
RIBA125140Elevation of the west facade of the jeu-de-paume (real tennis court) at the Chateau of Fontainebleau

 
RIBA125141Section of the interior of the jeu-de-paume (real tennis court) looking towards the tripartite window of the south facade at the Chateau of Fontainebleau

 
RIBA125142Elevation of the south facade of the jeu-de-paume (real tennis court) at the Chateau of Fontainebleau


RIBA125143Elevation of a house of five bays, two storeys, attic and high-pitched roof

 
RIBA125144Elevation of a domed paviion with lantern

 
RIBA125145Plan and side elevation of a Greek-cross church with dome and double tetrastyle portico; at bottom right, part of a masonry detail


RIBA125146Elevation and section of two centralised churches with domes and in bottom left, part of another dome and lantern

 
RIBA125147Copy of an engraving of a tomb by Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau

 
RIBA125148Copy of an engraving of a tomb by Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau


RIBA125149Copy of an engraving of a tomb by Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau

 
RIBA125150Half-elevation of an arched entrance with pediment supported on banded composite columns

 
RIBA125151Design for a chateau or city gate and drawbridge


RIBA125152Entrance elevation of a grotto with a dome open at the top

 
RIBA125153Design for the entrance to a fortress

 
RIBA125154Engraving by Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau from his 'Fragments antiques' (1550)


RIBA125155Elevation of a pavilion with an arcade on the ground storey and double flight of steps leading to arched entrances in an elaborate upper storey; over the central niche are the French royal arms and in the niche a classical bust

 
RIBA125156To the left: half-elevation of entrance and one window bay of a house, the entrance pediment decorated with military trophies; to the right: half-elevation of an arched entrance with rectangular superstructure supported on consoles and flanked by Doric pilasters (see RIBA125162 for half-elevation facing the courtyard)

 
RIBA125157Perspective elevation of part of a facade showing half of an arched entrance with a window above and one bay to left, with superimposed orders of pilasters


RIBA125158Elevation of part of an elaborately rusticated and sculptured facade

 
RIBA125159To the left: elevation of part of an entrance screen with an arched entrance and one window bay to the right; to the right: half-elevation of a doorway with a triangular pediment and military trophies above

 
RIBA125160Half-elevation of a central arched entrance and on bay to the left, possibly the entrance screen to a town house


RIBA125161Elevation of the end facade of a three-storey house having square-headed windows with a sculptured head over; brick and stone materials indicated; details of mouldings at right lettered and corresponding to the elevation

 
RIBA125162Two half-elevations: (left) arched entrance - or triumphal arch - one bay at left with niche containing a figure between half-column, pediment with sculpted figure; (right) half-elevation of an arched entrance with rectangular superstructure facing the courtyard (see RIBA125156 for half-elevation facing the street)

 
RIBA125163Hotel Zamet, Paris: Elevation of one bay of a two-storey facade with attic above


RIBA125164Part of the facade of the Palazzo Cenci alla Dogana, Rome

 
RIBA125165Part of the facade of the Palazzo Cicciaporci (Palazzo Alberini Cicciaporci), Rome

 
RIBA125166Part of the facade of the Palazzo Caprini, Rome


RIBA125167Part of the court facade and arcade of the Hotel de Gondi (later Hotel de Conde), Paris

 
RIBA125168Elevation of a two-storey pavilion with attic, the central door approached by a double flight of curved steps

 
RIBA125169Elevation of part of an upper storey and attic of three bays


RIBA125170Elevation of the south-east angle pavilion and part of the entrance screen at the Chateau of Montceaux

 
RIBA125171Two elevations: (above) elevation of a facade with three single-bay two-storey pavilions and one bay of two storeys between each, the central entrance pavilion is approached by a double flight of steps; (below) half-elevation of a facade of two storeys with an attic, the central bay containing an arched entrance with semi-circular pediment above

 
RIBA125172Two facades in half-elevation: (left) a single-bay two-storey pavilion with, to the right, an arcade with large windows above; (right) part of a facade of two storeys with an attic