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
RIBA125897Three half-elevations and one whole elevation of dormers with segmental pediments

 
RIBA125898(Top) Two whole and one half-elevation of dormers; (below) part of a three-storey pavilion with part of an adjoining wing to the left

 
RIBA125899Elaborate elevation of a pedimented double dormer window


RIBA125900Elevation of double dormer windows surmounted by a large, single triangular pediment with an oeil-de-boeuf in the centre

 
RIBA125901Elevation of one and a half bays of a gallery built over an arcade and with lucarnes and oeils-de-boeuf in the attic storey

 
RIBA125902Elevation of double dormer windows with broken triangular pediment covering both, military trophies on each side, and all surmounted by a fleur-de-lis and ducal coronet


RIBA125903Three half-elevations of dormer windows and (at top right-hand side) half-elevation of a two-storey rusticated facade with steps to the entrance door

 
RIBA125904Two elevations of oeil-de-boeuf lucarnes for an attic storey: the top one is possibly a variation on those of the garden facade of the Petite Galerie of the Louvre, the lower one is from the end facade of the Petite Galerie, facing the Seine

 
RIBA125905One whole elevation and four half-elevations of circular lucarnes with oeils-de-boeuf, as well as a decorated tablet at lower left


RIBA125906One half-elevation of a lucarne with an oval niche surmounted by military trophies

 
RIBA125907Trevi Fountain, Rome, seen from the side

 
RIBA125908Foro Romano, Temple of Vespasian, Rome


RIBA125909So-called Temple of Bacchus, later Church of Sant'Urbano, Rome: exterior view

 
RIBA125910Baths of Caracalla, Rome: interior of the central hall

 
RIBA125911Arch of Janus Quadrifrons with the Arch of the Moneychangers, Rome


RIBA125912St Peter's Square with St Peter's Basilica and colonnades, Rome

 
RIBA125913Capriccio known as The Skeletons

 
RIBA125914Capriccio known as The Triumphal Arch


RIBA125915Capriccio known as The Tomb of Nero

 
RIBA125916Capriccio known as The Monumental Tablet

 
RIBA125917Hellman cartoon in the Architects' Journal for 16 March 1983 on how the architect and his profession is viewed.


RIBA125918Hellman cartoon in the Architects' Journal for 5 September 1984 on how the architect and his profession is viewed.

 
RIBA125919St Saviour's Church, Coalpit Heath, Gloucestershire: south elevation with outline plans of details

 
RIBA125920Rapid sketches of peasants and a more detailed figure of a seated peasant with colour notes


RIBA125921Arch of Claudius, Rome

 
RIBA125922Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome

 
RIBA125923Ponte Rotto (Pons Aemilius), Rome


RIBA125924Design for a wallpaper showing 'four & twenty blackbirds baked in a pie'

 
RIBA125925Design for the new entrance to the Fine Arts Society, 148 New Bond Street, London: part-plans of ground and first floors and elevation

 
RIBA125926Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): front elevation after a competition drawing of 1866


RIBA125927Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design B): front elevation to Small Steet

 
RIBA125928Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design C): front elevation to Small Street

 
RIBA125929Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design C): section