The Art of Queen Elizabeth
Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth has an extensive and successful art collection. Not only are the works interesting in themselves but together they serve to further the overall atmosphere of sophistication, elegance and glamour.
Art with Royal Connections
The centerpiece of the Queen Elizabeth collection is a large marquetry panel over the staircase landing connecting Deck 2 with the Grand Lobby. At more than 18 feet high it dominates the ship's central atrium. The panel depicts the first Cunard Queen Elizabeth at sea and views the ship from just off the port bow at sea level - - a view that shows the giant liner at her most majestic. Although similar in composition to the panel that occupies the same location on Queen Victoria, this work is more successful perhaps because the lines of the first Queen Elizabeth were so much more impressive than the lines of the Queen Victoria.
This work was created by (Viscount) David Linley, the nephew of Queen Elizabeth II. It uses nine different types of wood including birds eye maple, walnut and ebony.
It is not unusual for a ship to have a painting of the ship's godmother. Nor is it unusual for a British ship to have a picture of the monarch. However, Queen Elizabeth has both combined in one work. The Queen Elizabeth was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to mark the occasion, Cunard commissioned a new portrait of the Queen.
British artist Isobel Peachey created the painting, which depicts the Queen sitting in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. In it, she is wearing the necklace and earrings that she wore at her coronation, which once belonged to her great grandmother Queen Victoria. This portrait was not one done from photographs. Rather, the Queen did three sittings at Buckingham Palace. It is thus an official portrait.
Art with Cunard Connections
Each of the current Cunard ships has an outstanding collection of maritime paintings. For the most part, these depict past Cunard ships. On Queen Elizabeth, the majority of these paintings are on located on the landings on Stairway A but there are also ship paintings in the Commodore Club and adjacent rooms. Among the artists are Stephen Card, Edward D. Walker and Robert J. Lloyd. Nautical memorabilia and photographs serve to further the maritime theme.
Although this Queen Elizabeth is named after both the first Cunard Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Elizabeth 2, her décor echoes the Art Deco styling of the original QE rather than the 1960s modern of the QE2. This is carried through in the art collection.
For example, there are a series of paintings by Giancarlo Impiglia of glamorous scenes from the 1930s ocean liner travel. These are done in his trademark style, which has elements of Art Deco.
Along the same lines, Marian Westall's “Peacocks in the Sun” is a large Art Deco inspired mural. The same artist has also contributed several large paintings of travel destinations - - London, Paris, Venice and New York. While it is hard to tell the time depicted in the scenes of the European cities, the New York skyline is mid-20th century.
Similarly, by the pools and on the Games Deck are a series of murals by Maurizio Eliseo. These show people lounging by a pool on an ocean liner, playing golf or at other sporting events. From the way the people are dressed, it is clear that these scenes are of the 1930s or the first half of the 20th century. Again, the “golden age of ocean travel” as the Cunard advertisements say.
Of a similar vintage, the ship's specialty restaurant, the Verandah, has several panels that echo the murals done by Doris Zinkeison in the 1930s Verandah Grill on the original Queen Mary.
The Art Deco paintings on Queen Elizabeth are complemented by etched glass panels and sculptures that add to the glamour of the public spaces.
For more about Queen Elizabeth
Click here for our Queen Elizabeth profile page
Above: David Linley's marquetry panel of the first Queen Elizabeth ocean liner overlooking the Grand Lobby.
Above: One of the paintings by Giancarlo Impiglia on Queen Elizabeth.
Cruise ship art collection review - Cunard Line - - Queen Elizabeth