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Queen Elizabeth

Linley Artwork Revealed For Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Lobby

May 20, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 144 days

As Queen Victoria’s guests and TOGs enjoy the Mediterranean and Queen Mary 2 continues her transatlantic season, last night the focus was all on our new Queen. I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event, not where Queen Elizabeth is currently under construction, in Italy, but at David Linley’s Gallery in London’s West End. I attended the special event with Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, the Cunard Marketing and Public Relations Team, David Linley and his staff as well as about thirty members of the press. I’ll continue the story after this week in Cunard’s history from 2 to 27 May:

21 May 1983 QE2 makes her maiden call to Genoa, Italy
22 May 1900  The Saxonia begins her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Boston at a speed of 15 knots. She is14,200 tons and has the tallest funnel in the world at a staggering 106 feet from deck to cowl.
22  May2008 Queen Victoria makes maiden call at Bergen
23 May 1912  The Imperator is launched by Kaiser Wilhelm II. She becomes the Berengaria in 1921 after brief service as the USS Imperator
24 May 1997  QE2 makes her maiden call at Corfu, Greece
25 May 2008 Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Stavanger, Norway
27 May 1936  Maiden Voyage of the RMS Queen Mary from Southampton to New York. It was hoped she would take the Blue Ribband from the Normandie but due to fog had to slow down and didn’t achieve it. A few weeks later however she achieved the record for the fastest round trip.

There was an air of anticipation and excitement last night as the gathered guests wondered what announcement was about to be made at the exclusive cocktail party. With less than 21 weeks before entering service more and more details of our new Queen are being revealed as The World Awaits her naming and maiden voyage in October.

As we soon found out, the evening was to celebrate a major piece of artwork which will be the centrepiece of Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Lobby. The challenge for designers was deciding how to treat the significant central space on the sweeping staircase of the ship, which is the first area to greet embarking guests. In a short speech just before the unveiling, Peter Shanks said:

“We needed to fill that space with something which would not just be dramatic, a ‘wow’ factor in an area already full of ‘wow’, but which would also reflect our emphasis on traditional and sumptuous materials. After much thought and exploratory work, it was decided to commission a 5.6-metre (18 ft 6 in) high marquetry panel depicting the original Queen Elizabeth, an Art Deco icon, using a variety of natural woods from around the world. Once we had decided on the theme and the medium, it didn’t take us long to conclude that no-one was better qualified for this detailed but monumental work than the company of the exceptional craftsman David Linley, whose creative ability and mastery of wood is renowned”.

Then commenting on the challenges faced by the bespoke commission, Linley’s Chairman, David Linley, who founded the company in 1985, said: “Though we have made fittings for luxury yachts in the past, this is the first sea-going work we have done on this scale – but it was a commission I was delighted to accept. I recall my father saying the interior design on Cunard’s QE2 made one proud to be British, so I am hoping our achievement on the new Queen Elizabeth will make him – and others – equally proud”.

Then ribbons on either side of a blue silk cloth were cut simultaneously by Peter Shanks and David Linley to reveal the beautiful artist’s impression of the artwork that will be the centrepiece for Queen Elizabeth.

Then it was time for some photos and here are Peter Shanks and David Linley next to the newly revealed piece, which shows the port bow of the original Queen Elizabeth seen dramatically from sea level, intricately executed using the technique of marquetry inlay in nine different types of wood veneers. Spanning 2½ decks, the marquetry panel features Madrona, Indian ebony, American walnut, grey ripple sycamore, burr ash, bird’s eye maple, satin walnut , ash, burr walnut and Macassar ebony – all used to depict the evocative image of Queen Elizabeth.

I then chatted to Peter who told me about Linley, a company specialising in the design and manufacture of fine furniture and marquetry, and how the company was commissioned to design and make this stunning piece of artwork. He told me work is currently under way, and the completed panel will be shipped during the summer to the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy, where it will be installed over a period of four days to take pride of place just before the ship enters service in October. Here’s an artist’s impression of the full piece.

As well as Peter Shanks I was also able to chat to David Linley and the head of design at Linley, Mark Blanchard, and fortunately our film crew were they to capture the whole event in an exclusive We Are Cunard video blog.  What a great evening and we are all excited to see the finished work taking its place in Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Lobby, and here is an artist’s impression of how the lobby will look in October.

What a great evening and we are all excited to see the finished work taking its place in Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Lobby, and here is an artist’s impression of how the lobby will look in October. What a great evening and we are all excited to see the finished work taking its place in Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Lobby, and here is an artist’s impression of how the lobby will look in October.


That’s it for another Blog as The World Awaits Queen Elizabeth, and I understand there are lots of announcements coming up revealing more details of our new Queen and I assure you that as soon as I know anything it’ll be posted on this Blog.

I’ll be back on Monday with more news from the TOGs voyage on Queen Victoria as the team welcome Sir Terry Wogan on board. There’s also more news coming up from Queen Elizabeth in Italy as well news of what’s happening on Queen Mary 2; in the meantime thank you again for logging on. Cheers Alastair.


  1. Bill Kennedy says:

    This is sure to be spectacular. Looks like it was a fun event. Love the video Alastair!

  2. Christian Reay says:

    Once again Cunard has excelled in its choice of artworks, this fine piece is a proud tribute to the first Queen Elizabeth and will make for a pleasent sight for guests as they embark for the first time. I do look forward to seeing the finished piece taking pride of place in the Grand Lobby.

    What artefacts from QE2 can we look forward to seeing onboard the new ship?

  3. Steve says:

    It’s the Queen Victoria lobby with the QE image superimposed.

    This is it? If this is an achievement for you guys I’d hate to see the end result
    of a true challenege.

  4. Alistair,
    My wife and i have cruised on both the Victoria and the Queen Mary 2 and wait with baited breath to join the new Queen Elizabeth in New York next January for our cruize to Sydney.we bring with us three other couples to enjoy the Cunard experience,will we be meeting some of the staff from the other ships?
    Regards Charles and Carole Meson.

  5. Robert - Hunter Valley says:

    Steve’s thoughts are a disciplined review. Great dair-does – but not a comb or brush in sight or in site.

  6. Beryl Moss says:

    What a truly fantastic piece to adorn the Grand Lobby and can’t wait to embark on our cruise next year to see it. Looking forward to meeting you again in a few days on our Baltic cruise on Queen Victoria. Enjoy the remainder of your leave Alastair.

  7. Anthony jr says:

    I was just reading the “this week in Cunard’s history” part of this blog, and knowing that my all time favorite ship is the old QM, and that my dream is to work for Cunard hopefully in the near future, I find it funny that my graduation (from high school) is the same day as QM’s maiden voyage!

  8. Jacques Forget says:

    Remarkable piece of art! After admiring the splendid tapestry that adorns the main restaurant onboard the Mary, I look forward to appreciate the beauty of such a wood marquetry. It will be unique.

  9. Jean says:

    Looking forward, are there any tributes to the QE2?

  10. Elizabeth Stewart says:

    The center piece for the Grand Lobby is outstanding. What an delightful artistic welcome for passengers. My family and I will be sailing on the 5 night inauguaral in November and we’ll be
    looking forward to seeing it then.

  11. marian says:

    I would love to sail on the Queen but you gave no fare , no sailing dates, no cabin information—it was a bit of a let down—so near and yet unatainable!

    Marian Cunningham Kob

  12. Louise Saxon says:

    Marian this is a blog, the Cunard website will give you fares etc. http://www.cunard.com

  13. J. W. B. Coulter says:

    Good day Sir, Madam;

    A comment on your excellent and appreciated communications efforts regarding Cunard and your fine ships.

    I was very bemused indeed when viewing the officer positions to see that the Doctor had been placed above the Chief Engineering Officer.
    While the Doctor is clearly an essential and valued member of the company officer staff,( although not being a Deck or Engineering Officer is not recognized as a Ships Officer by the ship safety authority ) the position is also clearly not essential for the safe and effective operation of the ship and would not, should not, be presented as senior to the Chief Engineer.
    But for the Chief Engineer and engineering staff, the ship would not function regardless of the wishes of the Captain.

    I would trust that this is an oversight that should be corrected and please continue your professional communication efforts.

  14. Charles Howland says:

    The Linley panel is a knockout! What a grand idea for a grand ship…
    You might be interested to know that the original Queen Elizabeth had a large marquetry panel entitled “The Canterbury Pilgrims” which was located in her Main Lounge. It was subsequently moved to the First Class Restuarant, I believe, to make room for a large portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother. So, the marquetry tradition continues aboard the new Cunarder.
    See you on the Maiden Transatlantic Voyage…
    Charles Howland

  15. Paul Cunane says:

    Wow ! The Linley Panel looks terrific and very fitting indeed. It’s approprate that a grandson of H.M. The Queen has had an input into this design. We all enjoy catching up with the latest Cunard news on the Thursday Blog and welldone to the film crew! Those film clips of the building of the new QE have been so informative, so much so, after viewing this latest one I just had to call Cunard and book a Christmas Voyage on the new Queen.

  16. Paul Cunane says:

    Oops,correction to my post above, David Linley is the Queens “nephew” and not a grandson.

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