Monday, July 13, 2009

Shipboard Savoir Faire

When travelling these days not a lot of us attach any serious importance to the means that we get there, be it by aeroplane, ocean liner or train. To see these modes of transport as symbols of state or showcases of art is a thing of the past, especially where ocean liner and cruise ship design is involved. Today modern day cruising has been reduced to a travelling sideshow of tacky glitz and glamour, to entice the travelling public. Liners were used by various companies and countries to showcase the best in art and design for the age in which they were created. Famous artists and designers were used to create overall concepts that just reeked of savoir faire. I have often looked at interior shots of these older liners and have been left salivating over the plethora of fixtures, furniture and artwork which once graced these beautiful interiors, and have wished to own virtual pieces of history.

Through the dedication and passion of one man, this is no longer a pipe dream, and we can all own a bit of savoir faire from a past liner and era. Midship Century ( was founded in 2005 by ocean liner historian and journalist Peter Knego as a logical outlet for the container loads of materials he salvaged from a long procession of celebrated vessels scrapped on the beach of Alang, India in recent years. His site is well worth a visit even if just to dream of a bygone era.

A few of the items which I am seriously coveting are as follows. These are important works and I am glad that Peter has managed to save them.

"Chariots" Silver Leaf Painting by Emanuele Luzzati from the Stella Solaris is at the top of my list. This once graced the dining room as a backdrop for the Captain’s Table and what a backdrop it is! The painting epitomises much of Luzzati’s work and is an important piece, not only in its execution but also in its beauty. Now if I had it where would I put it? Mmm not sure on that one, however want it I do!

The magnificent 27 piece ceramic bas relief with symbols of ancient Rome and the ancients by Luzzati once again, is a serious piece of ceramic art that once graced the MV Victoria. In a modern day setting this would be a great focal point in any grand modern building. Personally I would like it as a feature wall in a completely over the top bathroom.

If your budget or space constrictions are a little stretched for the whole 27 pieces, individual ceramics such as the one below might suit you better.

The fabulous little tables below are from the Windsor Castle and are brass, mahogany and melamine. The melamine top almost looks like porcelain. To say that I want one is an understatement! They seem a bit out of place in their original setting, however on their own or with the right chair they would be fabulous.

So visit and have a look at what Peter has to offer.

*Many thanks to Peter for allowing me to use his photos.


  1. you definitely chose the cream of the crop -how wonderful! While flying last weekend I was particularly depressed at the sad state of affairs. Airports and planes are plastic, style-less, art-less and cheap -no wonder people dress in pajamas to fly! Long gone are the days of stylish travel. I still believe you can be suitably attired and comfortable if you use your imagination!

  2. Architect- Many thanks, I just love those panels, they remind of the panels that were in the smoking room of the Normandie. I will be flying to Rome in September and am not looking forward to the actual flight, even though I am an aviation buff. I want to do it sylishly!

  3. That painting is just beautiful!

  4. Jason, isnt it just one of the best things you have ever seen!


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