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
RIBA125173Half-elevation of a house of five-bays and two storeys with attic; door is approached by a double flight of curved stairs; a courtyard is indicated with an entrance screen

 
RIBA125174Half-elevation of a house with a corps-de-logis and flanking pavilions; (below) half-elevation of an entrance screen to a courtyard

 
RIBA125175Half-elevation of an entrance screen with flanking pavilions


RIBA125176Elevation of an entrance over a moat on a high rusticated base; a high arch is flanked by small rectangular openings and surmounted by a broken curved pediment; the two halves of the design differ in detail

 
RIBA125177Two half-elevations of an entrance over a moat on a high rusticated base

 
RIBA125178Half-elevation of a house with a corps-de-logis flanked by pavilions


RIBA125179Half-elevation of an entrance pavilion with part of a screen at left; a pen drawing of a flying figure carrying a scourge and cut out in outline is stuck in at top left

 
RIBA125180Two entrances in half-elevation with elaborate and confused designs

 
RIBA125181Hotel de Bouchage, Paris: elevation of three bays of the upper part of a two-storey facade; a central niche in an elaborate frame is flanked by windows; plan of niche and window mouldings below


RIBA125182Hotel de Bouchage, Paris: elevation of the lower part of the facade shown in f.45v (RIBA125181)

 
RIBA125183Elevation of two and a half bays of an arcade with a gallery over and an attic above with lucarnes and dormers; military trophies surmounting central bay and in spandrels of the arcade (for an alternative design see f.47r, RIBA125184)

 
RIBA125184Elevation of two and a half bays of an arcade with a gallery over and an attic above wth lucarnes and dormers; military trophies above the pediment (for an alternative design see f.46v, RIBA125183)


RIBA125185Three designs for decorative cresting for walls; the upper design incorporates the royal crown

 
RIBA125186Five designs for decorative cresting

 
RIBA125187Three designs for decorative cresting


RIBA125188Elevation of half the central bay and of one bay to the right of a two-storey facade in brick and stone

 
RIBA125189Two half-elevations: (left) one bay of an arcade with a gallery over, the window above the arch breaking up through the cornice; (right) elevation of part of a facade articulated by a colossal order of fluted Corinthian columns, one bay in half-elevation has arched openings on two storeys with an elaborate frieze separating the upper and lower floors

 
RIBA125190Elevation of an elaborate, rusticated arched entrance; the two sides show alternative designs


RIBA125191Two entrances in half-elevation: (left) round-headed rusticated entrance with Doric pilaster and frieze, broken triangular pediment enclosing tablet with curved pediment; (right) entrance with steps, broken pediment supported by male figure

 
RIBA125192Three designs in half-elevation: two windows or screen openings and one arched gate or doorway

 
RIBA125193Elevation of three bays of a two-storey brick and stone facade with attic above


RIBA125194Elevation of the entrance facade of a two-storey brick and stone pavilion with an attic and flight of steps leading to the entrance

 
RIBA125195Elevation of one and two half-bays of an arcade with gallery above having square-headed rusticated windows

 
RIBA125196Elevation of a part of a facade of one-storey with an attic, to the left a single-storey wing with a balustraded terrace above


RIBA125197Two elevations: (top) single-storey pavilion with an oeil-de-boeuf lucarne above and single-storey wing with similar lucarnes; (below) elevation of a building on a rusticated base with pavilion at left with high-pitched roof (drawn as a plane elevation), central door approached by steep flight of steps flanked by stone panels, rusticated half-windows above the string course, single-storey wing at right with balustrade and terrace above (see RIBA1

 
RIBA125198Elevation of the Porte de l'Arsenal, Paris

 
RIBA125199Elevation of three bays of a two-storey facade with basement and attic; door at the right approached by double flight of steps with an arched basement entrance below


RIBA125200Elevation of three bays of a two-storey facade with basement and attic; the door is approached by double flight of steps with an arched basement entrance below

 
RIBA125201Elevation of half the central bay and two bays to the right of a two-storey facade with basement and attic; to the right half-elevation of a pavilion or or termination of a projecting wing

 
RIBA125202Slightly inaccurate drawing of the landing of the staircase at the Scuola Grande de San Giovanni Evangelista, Venice


RIBA125203Drawing of a seated soldier

 
RIBA125204Engraving of a fountain from Franco Fanelli's Varie architetture (Paris, 1661) (top); elevation of the upper chapel of Saint Saturnin in the Cour de l'Ovale at Fontainebleau, the side seen from the Stable Court (bottom)

 
RIBA125205Elevation of the funerary chapel of Diane de Poitiers at the Chateau d'Anet