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.

108584 items
RIBA125831Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: plan and section of the ceiling

 
RIBA125832Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: elevation of the window wall

 
RIBA125833Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: elevation of a wall with entrance doors


RIBA125834Studies of apples

 
RIBA125835Unidentified designs for a drawing room in the Adam style: elevation of a wall with one doorway and paintings hung either side of the door with much decorative plasterwork including medallions with Roman figures and garlands

 
RIBA125836Unidentified designs for a drawing room in the Adam style: elevation of a wall with one chimneypiece and two doorways and much decorative plasterwork


RIBA125837Unidentified designs for a drawing room in the Adam style: elevation of a wall with three windows, two pier glasses and decorative plasterwork

 
RIBA125838Unidentified designs for a drawing room in the Adam style: design for the ceiling with much decorative plasterwork

 
RIBA125839Topographical drawing of a house, Noordzandstraat, Bruges


RIBA125840Topographical drawing of an old house at the corner of Bridge Street, Chester, Cheshire, and Old Brig, Cramond, Lothian

 
RIBA125841Topographical drawing of the Vleeshal, or covered meat hall, Haarlem

 
RIBA125842Design for a portiere with tasselled fringe and canopy, for the Duchess of Newcastle


RIBA125843Studies of flowers: a forget-me-not, geranium, hearts ease, dragons tongue and a sweet pea

 
RIBA125844Studies of flowers: anenomes and a tulip

 
RIBA125845Studies of flowers: gentians and geraniums


RIBA125846Studies for an allegorical ceiling painting relating to the City of London: design for a central oval

 
RIBA125847Studies for an allegorical ceiling painting relating to the City of London: design for a central oval

 
RIBA125848Studies for an allegorical ceiling painting relating to the City of London: design for a central oval with the corner figures labelled as 'Fortitude', 'Justice', 'Temperance', and 'Prudence'


RIBA125849Studies for an allegorical ceiling painting relating to the City of London: design for a central oval with the corner figures labelled as 'Fortitude', 'Justice', 'Temperance', and 'Prudence'

 
RIBA125850Studies for allegorical ceiling paintings: representations of four continents in trope l'oeil niches, Europe, Asia, Africa, America

 
RIBA125851Studies for allegorical ceiling paintings: representations of four continents in trope l'oeil niches, Europe, Asia, Africa, America


RIBA125852Three elevations and two half-elevations of dormer windows and (lower left-hand) a half-elevation of a dormer window at the Chateau de Cormatin

 
RIBA125853Five half-elevations of dormer windows

 
RIBA125854Three half-elevations of windows, the two to the left possibly alternative designs


RIBA125855Three half-elevations of windows and (lower left) whole elevation of upper part of a window or other opening, with (lower right) detail of the console

 
RIBA125856(Left-hand side and top centre) Half-elevation of a two-storey facade and dormer from the attic storey of this facade, both inscribed Sedan; (lower centre) half-elevation of a rusticated window; (right top) three-quarter elevation of a heavily rusticated window, inscribed Geneve; (right bottom) half-elevation of a rusticated window and part of the opening above it

 
RIBA125857Two half-elevations of rusticated windows


RIBA125858Two half-elevations of windows

 
RIBA125859One whole and three half-elevations of dormers

 
RIBA125860(Left) Half-elevation of a dormer on a base with console, semi-circular pediment shown in full elevation with an elaborate cartouche surmounted by a knight's helmet and plumes; (right) half-elevation of the upper part of a dormer with broken pediment with a cartouche surmounted itself with a broken pediment with foliage motif


RIBA125861Designs for the British Embassy, Washington, D.C.: layout of house and garden with levels

 
RIBA125862Design for a wallpaper entitled 'Angelic Forest'

 
RIBA125863Designs for Methodist Central Hall, Storey's Gate, Westminster, London: detail section at CC, looking east, showing side galleries to large hall and corbels at angles