Unidentified Liner, Cunarder? - Ships Nostalgia
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Unidentified Liner, Cunarder?

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  #1  
Old 2nd December 2016, 10:24
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Unidentified Liner, Cunarder?

Dear All,

The ship in this little (8" x 6") oil painting is a passenger liner of the early years of the twentieth century. She has a dark navy hull with red boot-topping and a white superstructure, with a vertical prow and counter stern; her bridge is forward (with prominent bridge wings) and she has a small well-deck between the fo'c'sle and the bridge, and possibly another aft. Her machinery is amidships with a single tall funnel (painted red with a black top and three thin black bands), and she has four masts. She appears to be flying the Red Ensign. The painting is unsigned and undated, but is painted on a piece of Birchmore Board manufactured before 1924 by George Rowney & Co., and retailed in Liverpool by Douglas and Walls Ltd., of Tithebarn Street.

Were it not for the Red Ensign, and the Liverpool connection, I would feel confident that I had correctly identified her as the RMS Albania, (ex Cairnrona, ex Consuelo, of 1900), during that ship's brief period in Cunard ownership, in 1911-12. But the Albania flew the Blue Ensign, and sailed between Southampton and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Was there another Cunard vessel of similar design whose home port was Liverpool, and which did not carry the mails?
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  #2  
Old 2nd December 2016, 10:53
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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A fairly distinctive bridge arrangement.

Somebody amongst the cognoscenti is likely to recognise her immediately, I'd guess.
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  #3  
Old 2nd December 2016, 12:05
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possibly a Bibby Boat(4 masts) STAFFORDSHIRE?
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  #4  
Old 2nd December 2016, 13:13
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Lovely little painting!

Not ALBANIA. The bridge and house is smaller and would be between masts 2 & 3. Blue ensign could be exchanged with red ensign... if the master changed.

I'm tempted to say between CARPATHIA and some of the smaller cargo liners like IVERNIA. That said... none of them have the bridge forward of No 2 mast.

The funnel is sure like a Cunard funnel.

The hull... I would say black. A lot of painters like me never use black paint. To get 'black' I would use burnt sienna and ultramarine. For the hull it is normal to give a blue tint.. to make it 'work' with the sea.... it is just like that. The funnel top might use a touch of burnt sienna extra to get a touch of 'soot' on the top. Sorry, I don't think this is helping at all!

The main thing is... I've looked at all of the details, position of the bridge, well deck forward etc etc I can guarantee that there are NO Cunard ships that would have these features.

If it is a simple artist making a 'working oil sketch' it might have been just that. The details would change on a later painting.

Again... a nice painting. Please post it up on Gallery for maritime art on SN. Likely to see more people on it.

Stephen
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  #5  
Old 2nd December 2016, 17:03
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Did you buy it on e-bay by any chance?

geoff
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  #6  
Old 6th December 2016, 10:09
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Many thanks, guys. I find it hard to believe that this is not an accurate image of a real ship, but I suppose there is no reason why it should be. Misreading an earlier sketch, or painting from memory, could easily explain the incongruities, or it could simply be a work of the artist's imagination. A pity, though - I had hoped to put a name to her. Nevertheless, it is a nice period painting, and I am pleased to own it.

Yes, I bought it on eBay. I find that there is the occasional little gem amongst all the dross there, and this came from a gallery with whom I have had other dealings in the past.
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  #7  
Old 6th December 2016, 10:35
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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I would agree with Tony Frost that it might well be one of Bibby's.
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  #8  
Old 6th December 2016, 10:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
I would agree with Tony Frost that it might well be one of Bibby's.
I agree that she looks a lot like some of Bibby's "Shire" ships of the turn of the century. But what about the funnel detail? The three thin black lines are very clear, and very deliberate.
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Old 6th December 2016, 10:50
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Clutching at straws, but I wonder if any Bibby vessel was ever chartered by Cunard?

A possibility?
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  #10  
Old 6th December 2016, 12:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
Clutching at straws, but I wonder if any Bibby vessel was ever chartered by Cunard?

A possibility?
It's certainly a thought. But I have no way of checking. Anyone??
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  #11  
Old 6th December 2016, 12:37
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Cunard Line - Peter Newall.

Went through his book and yes, he covers chartered vessels.

Went over another book for some Bibby ships. They had one... Lancashire (1917). Some similar features... like second mast behind the bridge, well deck forward. After that... not much similarities at all. The stern is completely wrong and after deck very different.

Fairly certain this would simply be a simply artist's oil sketch... to show a later formal painting. This is normal. The sketch is just to get the 'feeling' for a scene and takes minutes. Details don't matter.

Stephen
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  #12  
Old 6th December 2016, 12:44
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Stephen's suggestion seems far more likely than mine!

Moreover, I am no artist - but the painting does have about it some suggestion of being unfinished. We shall never know what might have been in the artist's mind, particularly as we do not even know his name!
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  #13  
Old 6th December 2016, 13:13
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Barrie,

NO ONE knows what is going through an artist's mind when he is painting! I have watched and heard lectures about artist's works and what they were 'thinking' what their work was 'representing' and what his thoughts were intended. Well, unless the artist wrote it down and recorded it.... it means nothing.

Myself? Well, usually I am trying to show the beauty of ship and sea sea and skies. During while the work is going on the mind is usually on the piece of music playing on my iPod... or possibly planning a nice lunch!

Just a year a brilliant artist by the name of Willem Dolphyn, Belgian passed away in his 80s. Still life paintings.. so beautiful you want to cry! Just before he died a you tube clip was made. The film maker asked him to talk about his 'work' and 'life' and what he meant it all about. Willem, with a twinkle in his eye and a bit of a grin said, "I like to make pretty paintings!"

:-)
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  #14  
Old 6th December 2016, 13:36
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Thank you, Stephen,

Tout compris, absolument!

Even my own compulsive habit of writing doggerel is inspired very largely by the simple love of words and rhyme and rhythm. My only hard and fast rule in verse is to avoid saying anything untruthful - or which cannot at least be supported by reasonable argument.
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  #15  
Old 6th December 2016, 13:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
Thank you, Stephen,

Tout compris, absolument!

Even my own compulsive habit of writing doggerel is inspired very largely by the simple love of words and rhyme and rhythm. My only hard and fast rule in verse is to avoid saying anything untruthful - or which cannot at least be supported by reasonable argument.


I agree. The eyes, the head or the heart should not be hurt by things around us.... as in art, music and poetry! :-)
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  #16  
Old 9th December 2016, 05:47
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Furness Withy funnel colors (us spelling, sorry !) a la Monarch of Bermuda and Queen of Bermuda liners sailed out of Liverpool on regular service in the 1950's
Have not checked history but probably had the service early 20 th century.
Looks like the Bar Lightship PLANET which was a popular view on pre-war post cards for Cunard. I know Cunard had thin black rings on funnel but the ones depicted are Furness Withy. Hope this helps ! Snowy
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  #17  
Old 9th December 2016, 06:02
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A further note ... although most liners appeared to fly the Blue Ensign it was not exclusive to those vessels ... cargo ships ( usually of major shipping lines) did also. As far as I remember, if a ship had a Master and at least one other officer ( Engine, Radio or Deck) who were RNR, they could fly the blue ensign.
After WWII there were lots who qualified, so were quite a common sight . .. Not sure when that came into style ... After WWI ? Snowy
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  #18  
Old 9th December 2016, 09:21
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#16

Hi, Keith,

Please forgive my pedantry, but the Bar Lightship PLANET was commissioned as a new-build only in about 1960. Her predecessor the ALARM had served for many years. Whether an earlier PLANET might have preceded the ALARM, I do not know.

On first looking at the painting I also thought that there was a lightship at some distance astern of the liner. But a closer look suggests that it might well be another liner, on a reciprocal course. Certainly, a huge amount of smoke is being produced, which seems unlikely from any 20th century lightship.

I agree with Stephen that the whole picture is probably the artist's equivalent of a fairly idle doodle.
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Old 9th December 2016, 09:29
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I can't imagine any Cunarder flying the ensign from the stern while at sea....
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  #20  
Old 9th December 2016, 10:34
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Many thanks for the comments, chaps. I don't understand the suggestion that the funnel is painted in Furness Withy colours, though. Early Furness funnels were plain black, and then black with a blue band and the letter F until 1920. Even if this is post-1920 (as it might well be, although I think it more probable that it is pre-war), Furness Withy used a black funnel with a narrow red band over a broad red band, did they not? Not the red funnel with a black top and three thin black bands shown here.
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  #21  
Old 9th December 2016, 10:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen J. Card View Post
Not ALBANIA. The bridge and house is smaller and would be between masts 2 & 3. Blue ensign could be exchanged with red ensign... if the master changed.
Stephen,

I have just come across this postcard of the Albania, which seems to show the bridge and house of similar relative dimensions to that in my painting, and located between masts 1 and 2. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
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  #22  
Old 9th December 2016, 11:15
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I think you have got it!

Guess what.... there were TWO vessels named ALBANIA!

The first posting I said ALBANIA I didn't go further. The first ALBANIA built 1911 and left Cunard in 1912 and sold to Bank Line. She didn't fit your painting.

This morning your Cunard postcard... well, I think you have got it. There was a second ALBANIA, built 1920. I know this card and oddly I just saw a photo of the ship as the Italian CALIFORNIA yesterday. Similar to your card, but CALIFORNIA was refitted with a large funnel and long white stripe on the hull... I never have it a further thought.

OK... all of the features in the painting 'seem' to fit. Only thing is the well deck. The along the hull is a covered shelter deck with lifeboat above. If your artist is using a bit of license.... and making only as a 'sketch'.... well, I would say it is ALBANIA.... No. 2!

Originally I was checking for four mast vessels and I did find the ALBANIA No 2, but discounted the ship. The photo in Newell's book the photo shows her as a 3/4 stern view. From this image it does not look like your painting... and that covered prom deck. You postcard this morning... you definitely nailed it!

Well done!

Stephen
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  #23  
Old 9th December 2016, 11:30
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Thanks, Stephen. If I had not conflated the two Albanias in the first place, this would have been solved a lot earlier! I shall update the description in the Gallery section.
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  #24  
Old 9th December 2016, 19:23
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I stand corrected ... Should have not named the Bar lightship ! The black bands on the funnel are quite thick but is a painted sketch after all, so allow artist a lot of space ... amazing what we all learn from the many posts on this site ! Snowy
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