SS Normandie: Trans-Atlantic haut décor

Perhaps one of the greatest liners was the Normandie launched in 1932 for the Le Havre-New York route of Compagnie Générale Translatlantique (or French Line) and the great rival to the Queen Mary for the coveted Blue Riband trans-Atlantic speed record between 1935-1938.

The epitome of French haut décor the Normandie was truly a decadent, luxury ship with Art Deco interiors and large spaces, not least the first class dining room for 700 which was illuminated by pillars of Lalique glass. Exclusive accommodation was provided by a number of large suites including the Grande Luxe Trouville suite and the rather more historic than moderne in decoration Jumièges suite based on the chambers of Louis XV’s mistress the Marquise de Pompadour.

Just two days after the start of the Second World War the Normandie was impounded by the US government becoming the USS Lafayette in 1941. Sadly she came to an ignominious end as whilst being converted to a troopship in 1942 she caught fire capsizing in the Hudson River and although salvaged restoration was too expensive.

These photographs are from an album of 46 photographs of the Normandie acquired by the RIBA in 2014.

 
Launched:  Saint-Nazaire, 1932
 
Disposal:  Scrapped: 1946-1948
 
Tonnage:  82,799 tons
 
Length:  1029 feet or 314 metres
 
Maximum speed:  32.2 knots

 

Also see: Ocean Liners, RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II, SS Oriana.

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RIBA4103Design for a wallpaper showing dragons and flames

 
RIBA4104Copy of a Pompeiian decoration from the Villa of Cicero showing green dancing figures on gold bars

 
RIBA4105Design for a wallpaper or textile entitled 'Alena'


RIBA4106Olive Cook

 
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RIBA4109Design for a nursery chintz entitled 'The house that Jack built'


RIBA4110Detail of colour decoration on clustered columns and springing of vault, Sainte Chapelle, Paris

 
RIBA4111Design for a wallpaper or textile showing birds among flowers

 
RIBA4112Design for a nursery textile showing a shepherd, squirrel and bird in a tree


RIBA4113Design for a wallpaper entitled 'The Callum'

 
RIBA4114Design for a wallpaper showing birds among grapes and leaves

 
RIBA4115Design for a wallpaper for Sanderson and Sons showing roses, hips and leaves


RIBA4116Design for a wallpaper for Sanderson and Sons showing pairs of birds among stylized leaves

 
RIBA4117Design for a wallpaper for Sanderson and Sons showing birds among stylized leaves

 
RIBA4118Design for a textile for Alexander Morton entitled 'Fidelis'


RIBA4119Design for a textile entitled 'Huntsman'

 
RIBA4120Design for a textile for Alexander Morton showing cornflowers, wheatsheaves and crows

 
RIBA4121Design for a textile or wallpaper entitled 'Crown and Tulip'


RIBA4122Design for a carpet and textile showing strawberries, leaves, flowers and birds

 
RIBA4123Design for a wallpaper showing eucalyptus leaves and flowers

 
RIBA4124Design for a textile entitled 'The Rose and Shamrock'


RIBA4125Design for a textile showing stylized yellow roses

 
RIBA4126Design for a fabric showing yellow roses and rose hips

 
RIBA4127Design for a wallpaper entitled 'Symbols of the Arts'


RIBA4129Design, possibly for a nursery wallpaper, showing birds and a squirrel in a tree

 
RIBA4130Design, probably intended for a nursery wallpaper frieze, showing a rural scene

 
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