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- Commissioned by Cunard White Star Lines in 1937
- Private collection
William McDowell started his career in the drawing office of the Vickers Shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. After World War I he became a full-time marine artist, specialising in commercial work for large shipping companies such as Cunard, White Star Line and Union Castle. He also took on private commissions and in 1950 he published a book entitled The shape of Ships, which he illustrated with line drawings and colour plates. He was an associate member of the Institute of Naval Architects. Paintings by his hand are at the Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness and at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
The present painting shows RMS Queen Mary in port collecting passengers for her voyage. The close up composition is striking and in the foreground to the left, a steam train bringing passengers is dwarfed by the towering shape of the vessel. The ship embodied the latest in naval architecture featured luxurious facilities. For the interior Cunard had commissioned works of art from artists such as Edward Wadsworth and A. Duncan Carse .
The turbine steamer Queen Mary took her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1936. In 1938 she did the return journey at remarkable speed and won the Blue Riband; her record stood until 1952. During the war she was used for troop transport and her last departure from Southampton took place in 1967. After considerable conversion work on its interior, the ship became a tourist attraction in 1971.
|Height||96.00 cm||(37.80 inches)|
|Width||63.00 cm||(24.80 inches)|