Friday, June 19, 2009

Savoir Faire on the High Seas!

Normandie! The holy grail of ocean liners! The art deco masterpiece that the French created in the 1930’s. The epitome of savoir faire, chic and glamour. Every detail of this fabulous liner was thought out in great detail with no expense spared. Crossing the Atlantic, you were cocooned in a sumptuous environment, lavish dining rooms and monumental social spaces.

Dining was a whole new experience with the best of everything, Lalique and Daum, glassware, Sevres and Limoges porcelain and Christofle silverware. Even though the designs themselves were deceptively simple, the quality was unsurpassed. Of course each piece carried the highly stylised logo of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, and it seems that each piece was designed around this. The overall form of the piece with the combination of the logo is in perfect harmony with each other.

Christofle created 45,000 pieces of silverware for the liner of varying quality, from solid silver to silver plate to be used in the various dining rooms and accommodations. This was of an extremely refined and elegant design that had little variation form 1st class to 3rd. It was only the quality that differed, for example the same design of ice bucket was used across all three classes.

Lalique and Daum created over 100,000 pieces of glassware ranging from ashtrays to wineglasses that were also used across all three classes. Just because you were stuck in third class, didn’t mean that you were excluded from enjoying your vin du table out of an exquisite glass.

Unfortunately these objects are now the domain of serious collectors. It will be a while before my dining table is graced with this ultimate in savoir faire!


  1. So let's see, at one time, you dined in luxury with Christofle perfection and now you're crammed into too small seats with your own damn carry-on tabouleh that you eat with a spork. Evolution is going backwards.

  2. I wouldn't say I was that reduced in circumstances! Making do with Rosenthal and Oneida, one must carry on!

  3. Wow, I didn't know that Christofle and Lalique had done all the silverware and glass for the Normandie. I know that it had screens of glass by Lalique, murals by Dupas, and wrought iron by Brandt. Plus that newest of Art Deco materials adorned the place. Check out my Art Deco Transportation page for more.

  4. Lesley, Yes, magnificent that you could be eating and drinking of such fabulous tableware even in Third Class!


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