The art of sailing the seas,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Ocean Liner Posters (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Originally published by a French company in 2008 this is a sumptuous look at the great days of the passenger liners that criss-crossed the world with posters from 1873 to 1962. The common element of the two hundred in the book is the art, either straight paintings or, from the mid-thirties onwards, a much more graphic style. Artists mostly chose to show these liners at three-quarter profiles from sea level making it much easier to suggest the power and strength of steel cutting through water.
I was interesting see that some liners were a mix of sail and steam, pages sixteen and seventeen show two posters from 1883 and what appear to be a sailing ship but is actually the Red Star 'Westernland' with two large funnels. To impress potential passengers Cunard posters added technical details about their ships, their 'Carmania' and 'Caronia' were 676 feet long and weigh in at 20,000 tons, the 'Campania' and 'Luciania' were 625 feet long, 12,950 tons with 30,000 horse power. Another Cunard poster from 1920 shows that artists could stretch reality to the limit, on page seventy-two the 'Mauritania' is so tall it breaks out of the poster edge.
There are some lovely posters from the thirties showing artists using a flat graphic style, reducing the shape and structure of liners to a sleek streamline appearance and with less copy in bigger type posters had a much more visual impact though some companies, like Union Castle, Shaw Savill or P&O, stuck to the old style of realistic paintings of their liners. None of the major shipping companies had logos so the obvious thing was to have a distinctive coloured funnel and there are three posters in particular, Cunard, Hamburg-America and United States Lines, where the main pictorial element are their funnels and they work beautifully.
The book's five chapters all start with an essay about the liners revealing interesting detail about the ships and their owners. Some of this information is quite fascinating, for example: the French Fabre Line owned the 11,885 ton 'Patria' which sailed between Marseilles, Naples and Palermo to New York in 1914 with 140 First class, 250 Second class and 1,850 Third class passengers (this is really cramming them in on a relatively small ship) compared with ultimate Atlantic crossing experience during the thirties on the 'Normandie' (82,799 tons) which carried 750 Cabin class, 625 Tourist class and 340 Third class passengers.
The book is a treat to look through, beautifully designed and printed on a quality matt art paper, the only thing missing is an Index. I doubt there will be better book about ocean liner posters.