The “Ship Beautiful”

106 years ago today the Cunard Steamship Company placed their order for RMS Aquitania, the “Ship Beautiful”. In service from May 1914 she earned her nickname for her luxurious interiors and went on to be one of the most long-lived 20th century liners, finally retiring in 1950. But why mention her here on the blog?

Quite simply it’s down to yet another beautiful artwork tucked away in the Archive; one that we quietly linked to in our last Christmas blog post as an example of “something particularly amazing” and, thanks to today’s date, one we can now highlight properly! Although SD 1705/MS1980 actually contains a number of items related to the Aquitania it’s the artwork shown below that really blew us away, capturing the grace and elegance these early 20th century transatlantic ocean liners were famous for. In fact, so entranced were we by this wonderful illustration on our first viewing that we barely noticed the very practical (and useful) section cut-through at the bottom of the page!


MS1980 is not the only ocean-related record in the collection either, although it is probably the most visually dramatic. Flurries of steamship company marks appear all at once in the pages of the crest and badge books – including a White Star Line mark which is connected to RMS Titanic in papers elsewhere in the collection – and amongst the Archive’s miscellaneous files lies a cabin plan for Aquitania’s slightly smaller sister ship, Mauretania.

Why not set sail amongst our sea of Minton records and see what other nautical treasures are waiting in the deep?

P.S. If you’re wondering why we’ve written about “RMS Aquitania” when the artwork above calls her “SS Aquitania” it’s all to do with mail contracts – see Wikipedia’s page on Royal Mail Ships for more information.

P.P.S. We apologise profusely for our pun-tastic final line!