Oceanliner Memorabilia Brings Back Opulent Time in History for Collectors If you’re looking for simple, straightforward talk and actual auction pricing you’ll find it at LiveAuctionTalk.com. Rosemary McKittrick’s weekly column covers the gamut.
News-Antique.com - Aug 19,2008 - Santa Fe, Aug. 19. -- Designed for luxury, the “Empress of Britain” was a giant ocean liner full of seagoing splendor and surprises as she prepared for her inaugural launch on June 11, 1930.
Decorated by artists of the British Royal Academy, the ship was an interesting mix of cross-cultural tradition and art deco glamour. Upright and imposing, the Empress was a floating city complete with swimming pool and tennis courts.
A Chinese motif rounded out her smoking room. Her “Mayfair” lounge was Renaissance in design, her card room had a Spanish motif, and the first class dining room was contemporary.
The ship’s accommodations ranged from extravagant suites to tiny inside cabins. Two of the largest suites even had their own balconies. All of the cabins had a washbasin and some were equipped with full bathrooms.
Pale blue columns with coral pink curtains surrounded the ballroom. An oval-shaped ceiling, picturing plenty of blue sky and white stars dangled above the dance floor.
The officers and crew almost always outnumbered her passengers. Service was the key ingredient on this luxury cruises. The Empress even had a gym equipped with bicycling machines, electric horses and punch balls.
Opulence is the magic behind ocean liner memorabilia for today’s collector. These floating cities were larger-then-life, decorated like scenes out of French oil paintings.
Replaced by jet travel, they ultimately became a thing of the past.
On May 22, Swann Galleries, New York, featured oceanliner memorabilia from the Frank O. Braynard Collection at auction. An Empress of Britain color lithographic poster; in 1931; 36 inches by 24 inches; sold for $3,120.
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