The real Queen Victoria was a virtual collection of firsts. She was the first of the modern day monarchs, having a telephone, riding a train and even playing host to a World’s Fair! She also had the longest reign, highlighted by England’s prevalence in the Industrial Revolution and eventually into a constitutional monarchy. In recognition of her greatness, Cunard engaged a select group of accomplished contemporary British artists to bring style and ambiance to its newest ocean liner, Queen Victoria. The interior collection, from the Grand Lobby to all the restaurants and famous-named rooms, pieces are acknowledged on an 80 minute self-guided digital audio overview, the Queen Victoria Art Tour, which also features video interviews by the artists.
“Through this extraordinarily well-researched collection, we convey the ambiance that guests expect on a liner named Queen Victoria – a sense of history and grandeur coupled with a more contemporary appreciation of modern art by modern artists and artisans,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.
Assembling an art collection worthy of Cunard’s newest ocean liner was “a career highlight” for Amy Lucena, the art consultant who is managing the acquisition of over five hundred pieces that will form the core of the ship’s nearly $2 million collection. Showcasing primarily British artists, the ship’s collection runs the gamut, ranging from several featured pieces by renowned artists and craftsmen to smaller but equally significant installations. The three etchings in the Queens Room (one by Queen Victoria, one by Prince Albert and one by the two together) are among the ship’s most treasured works. In hand-selecting every piece, Lucena was tasked with choosing diverse and expressive works that showcase the line’s rich British history.
Queen Victoria Art Tour
Recognizing just how rich and varied the ship’s collection of art is, Cunard will introduce a museum-style self-guided art tour at sea. An 80-minute audio overview, the Queen Victoria Art Tour will trace a path past 25 of the ship’s most significant works including portraits, sculpture, vintage and contemporary ship models, murals and works in glass. In addition, the tour will feature video interviews with artists, some while at work on their particular Queen Victoria pieces. The audio tour will be available on the new Apple Ipod Touch which guests can borrow from the Purser’s Desk. Highlights include:
Grand Lobby – Beautifully proportioned, the triple-height Grand Lobby exudes the character and ambiance of many Cunard ocean liners of the past, creating an immediate and unmistakable sense of grandeur and arrival. The room’s sweeping staircase, gently curved balconies and breathtaking statement piece by Scottish sculptor John McKenna afford a guest’s first glimpse of the opulence onboard. Executed in multiple mediums, the centerpiece of the Grand Staircase is a substantial work that captures Cunard’s enduring legacy through an enchanting combination of rich, elegant marquetry by the foremost marquetry company in the U.K., Aryma Contemporary Marquetry, and a three dimensional sculpture in mixed media by McKenna. The marquetry depicts a globe, sky, continents and sea in diverse shades of wood, forming an intricate and engaging background for McKenna’s stunning portrait of Queen Victoria. The work is a sister piece to McKenna’s sculpture in the Grand Lobby aboard Queen Mary 2.
Elsewhere in the Grand Lobby, there is a traditional maritime portrait of Queen Victoria at sea by noted maritime artist Robert Lloyd as well as Victorian and contemporary sculpted Cunard logos by Ian Brennan, the designated sculptor to Queen Elizabeth.
Queens Room – The life of Queen Victoria is reflected through a varied collection of works in the Queens Room, which features portraits of Victoria and Albert in octagon-shaped leaded glass panels by U.K.-based John Hardman & Company and elegant murals inspired by views from Queen Victoria’s beloved Osbourne House by Clarissa Parish. Also featured is a portrait of Queen Victoria, Albert and two of their dogs by Marcus Hodge, painted in an impressionist style. Black and white photographs of Queen Victoria, Albert, their children and grandchildren round out this regal, yet welcoming room. Of particular note are the circa 1840′s etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of their dogs, Islay, Eos and Cairnach.
Royal Arcade – Perhaps nowhere is the marriage of contemporary and classic more evident than in the Royal Arcade. Its focal point is a classically designed clock by Dent & Co., the clockmaker to HRH Queen Victoria, whose most famous work is London’s Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster (“Big Ben”). The clock housing is black with gold-leaf lettering and the backlit dials are opal acrylic with black Roman numerals. Glass ceiling domes illuminate the room and both modern and old world views of London lead into this lovely arcade.
Britannia Restaurant – The ship’s largest dining venue, Britannia was inspired by the dining car of the famed Golden Arrow that linked London to Paris. Its Art Deco design influences are captured in bespoke artwork, wall sconces and a combination of authentic finishes that include polished wood and bronze mirror. The room’s focal point – a visually arresting world globe by U.K. artist David Norris – stands ten feet tall facing the restaurant’s entrance.
Library – In the ship’s two-story Library, a dramatic leaded glass ceiling by John Hardman & Company featuring elegant geometrical and classical patterns provides a dramatic counterpoint to the room’s golden, green, and cream tones and rich mahogany cabinetry.
Royal Court Theatre – This dramatic venue pays a visual tribute to London’s West End theatre district through a collection of Kevin Sazackerely murals throughout the theatre’s interiors and exterior.
Chart Room – A favorite retreat aboard Cunarders for over a century, the Chart Room resonates with maritime history and innovation. The room features large murals of Servia and Britannia by maritime artist Robert Lloyd and portraits of Olympic and Caronia by maritime artist Stephen Card, as well as sand-blasted maps with sea views and vitrines displaying ship models and other maritime artifacts and memorabilia. These include items such as Cunard shipbuilding receipts, a 1930′s Cunard sailor cap, and two sailor-made models of Queen Mary and Caronia, “The Green Goddess.”
Commodore Club – Likewise, the Commodore Club features Cunarder porthole images by Robert Lloyd and modern ship models of Queen Elizabeth 2 and Cunard Countess encased in custom display cabinets.
Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar – This Art Deco-influenced space is highlighted by a mural by famed painter Barry Rowe, who is best known for his Art Deco portraits of automobiles. Here, he depicts his interpretation of the Christening of Queen Mary. The bar’s exterior features a mural of the stunning Crystal Palace, which Prince Albert commissioned for the Great Exposition of the Works of Industry of all Nations in 1851.
CafÃ© Carinthia - Central to this room is maritime painter Stephen Card’s commissioned portrait of Carinthia. A series of London maps from a first edition copy of Charles Dickens’ London Atlas is also featured.
Empire Casino – The casino ceiling features a trio of backlit leaded glass panels by John Hardman & Company.