The Art of Queen Victoria
Cunard Line's Queen Victoria has an extensive art collection. It cost over $2 million when the ship was built in 2007 and includes some 500 works. It is not an intrusive collection. It blends in nicely with the overall sophisticated décor of the ship. However, there is much to interest those who want to look more deeply.
Queen Victoria seeks to recall the luxury and elegance of the golden age of ocean liner travel during the first half of the 20th century. The ship's art collection is designed to serve that purpose. Even though there is an emphasis on history and tradition on this ship, much of the art work was done by contemporary artists. Thus, the art, like the ship, is often a contemporary interpretation of the past, relating the elegance of the past to the now.
The art collection on Queen Victoria can be divided into three categories.
First, there is art related to the sea, especially Cunard line and its ships.
Located in the ship's multi-deck high is a large installation that forms the focal point for the room. A large metal relief by Scottish sculptor David McKenna shows the bow of Queen Victoria plowing through the waves. Surrounding and forming a background for the relief is marquetry done by Aryma Contemporary Marquetry depicting the sun, a globe, sky, continents and the sea in diverse shades of wood. This work was commissioned for the ship and is the most noticeable object in the collection.
Another large sculptural piece commissioned for the ship is in the Britannia Restaurant, Queen Victoria's largest dining room. Standing 10 feet high, it is a bronze and glass globe done by UK artist David Norris. The subject recalls that Cunard's house flag features a crowned lion holding a globe.
Seemingly, throughout the ship are paintings of ships. They include works by several contemporary maritime artists including Captain Stephen Card, Robert Lloyd, Gordon Buawens, Ted Walker and Nicolosi While the subjects include Cunard's current ships, many are of Cunarders from Cunard's long history. Most of the paintings were done in traditional, realistic, maritime style and show scenes of ships going about their business. However, some, such as Niclosi' painting of Queen Mary 2, are done in a looser more fantastic style. The maritime paintings are complemented by several large ship models and numerous items of ship memorabilia distributed through Queen Victoria's public areas.
Second, there is art relating to the ship's namesake, Queen Victoria the person.
Indeed, in the Queens Room, the ship has an etching done by Queen Victoria. It is accompanied by an etching done by her consort Prince Albert and an etching done by the Royal couple together.
There are also portraits of Queen Victoria. Cunard commissioned Italian-born artist Giancarlo Impiglia to do a portrait of the Queen Empress for the ship. He had done several paintings for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 before receiving this commission. Departing from his usual abstract style and going back to his roots in traditional painting, Impiglia did a realistic portrait of Victoria as a young woman.
Marcus Hodge painted an Impressionistic portrait of Victoria, Prince Albert and two of their dogs.
To further connect the Queens Room to Queen Victoria, Cunard commissioned Clarissa Parish to paint murals on the walls of this seagoing ballroom. The murals recall views of the gardens at Osbourne House, Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight. (Osbourne can be seen from the ship on her way to and from Southampton).
Finally, there is art that evokes the atmosphere of the golden age of ocean liner travel. These works do not depict ships but rather are in tune with the elegance of the ocean liner age. For example, by the Midships Lounge are a series of prints by the artist and designer Erte. They depict his imaginative yet sophisticated costumes, which were a hallmark of chic between the world wars.
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Above: David McKenna's sculpture in the Grand Lobby of Queen Victoria.
Above: Giancarlo Impllia's portrait of Queen Victoria is hung along with other art relating to the Queen Empress in the Queens Room.
Below: A section of the mural of the gardens at Osbourne House.
Cruise ship art collection review - Cunard Line - - Queen Victoria