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Queen Elizabeth

Specially Commissioned Sculpture For Queen Elizabeth Is Revealed

March 18, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth


Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 206 days


After another busy week of Blogging, this post focuses on the progress of our new Queen. Regular readers may remember that last year there was a competition to decide on the sculpture that will be specially commissioned for Queen Elizabeth. More of that after the regular feature, this week in Cunard’s history, for the week 19th to the 25th of March:


19 March 2008

Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Port Kelang, Malaysia

20 March 1950

Caronia makes her maiden call to Algiers, Algeria – 1 of only 2 calls she ever made there

21 March 2003

Queen Mary 2 is floated out of the building dock.

22 March 1921

Ausonia is launched and enters service the next year

23 March 1921

Scythia is launched and enters service later the same year.

23 March 1950

Caronia makes her maiden call to Lisbon, Portugal

25 March 1975

QE2 makes her first transit of the Panama Canal, making her the largest ship to travel through the canal to date.


Cunard has long had a reputation for commissioning dramatic pieces of art for its ocean liners, and last September in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph, Cunard announced a competition to design an art-deco style sculpture to feature on Queen Elizabeth.


In keeping with the art deco theme on board Queen Elizabeth, competition entrants were asked to come up with their own unique designs, they could take inspiration from traditional art deco figurative pieces, famous art deco buildings or create something unique. Although traditionally the most common mediums for art deco sculptures are stone and bronze, weight considerations mean that the piece will have to be made of a lighter material such as plaster or fibreglass, with a faux bronze or stone finish.


By the competition closing date in December last year, 143 entries from all over the world had been submitted. They then had to be whittled down to just 20, by the judges who included Royal Academy Director, Charles Saumarez Smith, Telegraph Arts Editor, Sarah Crompton and Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks.


In the Telegraph Review in January, readers were then asked to vote for their favourite. A winner was recently announced as 20 year Peter Simpson, who is in his second year of a sculpture course at Edinburgh College of Art. Here he is with a model of his winning sculpture:



Peter heard about the competition through his college and started designing the sculpture last September before submitting the final design at the beginning of December, and was amazed when he received the phone call saying he had won.


Peter comes from an artistic family. He lives with his parents in Edinburgh, and has been surrounded by art for as long as he can remember. His father is a retired Interior Designer who now carves wood and restores furniture, while his mother and elder sister create fashion jewellery from blown glass.


So far Peter has created a dozen very different sculptural pieces including the following:



Peter likes themes around speed and movement with the futurists, especially Umberto Boccioni, a major influence. “I like traditional techniques or subject matter, but with a modern edge,” he explained in an interview with the Telegraph; “I want to connect with people. There are ideas at the root of my sculptures but the pieces aren’t conceptual: you can get to them through the image.”  


The way Peter came to design his work for Cunard, apparently intrigued the judges. He became interested in the new lighthouse lenses, introduced by Augustin-Jean Fresnel in the early 19th century, after watching a BBC Television documentary. He told judges that; “They vastly reduced the material needed to amplify light, but are also beautiful objects in their own right.”


He said that at first he wanted to work with a shell shape, so he spent days sketching whelks. Then he said “I realised that it was too figurative, didn’t say much, and I was finding it hard to get something beautiful out of it. So I took what I liked, the curved shape, the interior space and adapted it to the lens.” These are his sketches of the finished work.



Peter Shanks was delighted by the result; “We were overwhelmed by the creativity of Telegraph readers,” he said “We are delighted to be part of this young artist’s future and to have him, in turn, be part of Cunard’s history.”


The final full sized sculpture won’t be made by Peter, although he will follow its progress with Cunard’s design team who’ll bring his ideas to life. Naturally he will be there to reveal the final work of art and will be part of the celebrations when Queen Elizabeth arrives in Southampton for the first time at the beginning of October this year.


Our congratulations to Peter, I’m sure you’ll agree this piece of art will look stunning and will add another unique feature to our new Queen’s interior.


I’ll bring you more news about Queen Elizabeth’s progress soon, including an interview next week with Robert Howie, the Hotel Manager appointed to our new Queen. I’ve also got some more news from Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 on their World Voyages coming next week, so please keep logging on and sending me your questions and comments. Cheers for now, Alastair.

  1. Fraser mcinnes says:

    Stunning. The more I look at it the more I love it. Will be beautiful in it’s new home. I’m glad the sketches of the design are here. Gives great perspective on finished price from all angles. Can’t wait to see it in the flesh. Roll on oct. :) .
    Fraser. :)

  2. Fraser mcinnes says:

    Oops meant finished peice. Lol.

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  6. Lisa says:

    She deserves the best! She is very great person and Queen!

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