Kings of the sea
Ocean Liners: Speed and Style
V& A, London Until 17 June 020 7942 2000 vam.ac.uk/OceanLiners
The V&A is travelling back to the golden age of ocean travel this month, with a new exhibition exploring life at sea from the mid-19th to the late 20th century.
The exhibition begins with Brunel’s famous steamship of 1859, the Great Eastern – at its time the largest ship the world had ever seen. Other vessels under the spotlight include the German passenger liner Kronprinz Wilhelm, which launched in 1901; Titanic and its sister ship Olympic; the floating art deco palaces of Queen Mary and Normandie; and the streamlined modernism of SS United States and QE2.
More than 250 objects are on show, shedding light on all aspects of ocean travel – from the cultural impact of the ocean liner on an international scale, to the designs of these magnificent ships, including ground-breaking engineering, architecture and interiors, as well as fashion and lifestyles on board.
Some of the items featured in the exhibition are on show in the UK for the very first time, including a panel fragment fromTitanic’s first-class lounge. Other notable exhibits include the Duke of Windsor’s sumptuous 1940s Goyard luggage; the Christian Dior suit worn by Marlene Dietrich as she arrived in New York aboard the Queen Mary in 1950; and works by artists such as Stanley Spencer, Albert Gleizes, Charles Demuth and Eileen Gray.
A colour lithograph poster for Canadian Pacific Railways featuring the ocean liner Empress of Britain