The ‘Age’ referred to, possibly began in 1890, when steamship companies began advertising their first “superliners” with another new marvel, the lithographic poster.
Did it conclude with the onset of the Jet Age in 1960, when the jet reduced intercontinental travel to mere hours rather than days, forcing the ocean liner to reinvent itself as the cruise ship?
In essence then, this “Golden Age” was publicised and communicated by it’s travelling companion, the highly graphic and decorous ocean liner travel posters. Leading artists of the day attained fame and respect for their efforts. If one individual stands out, it is A M Cassandre and his iconic depiction of the Normandie.
However, did this ‘Golden Age’ really disappear with the arrival of wide bodied aircraft?
Not really,.... as this copy of Sea Breezes arrives at the newsagents, or through your letter box, the omnipresence of the Golden age is on display in Southampton, which is hosting an exhibition entitled PORT OUT, SOUTHAMPTON HOME: 2
This exhibition and the poster promoting it is a case in point.
To quote the exhibition organisers, “In their golden age from the 1920s to the 1950s, ocean liners were the lifeblood of Southampton, bringing employment, industry and glamour to the city. From the early days in the 1890s to modern day cruiseliners, this major exhibition tells the story of these great ships and evokes the romance of sea travel and life on board. The exhibition includes a wide range of rarely seen items from the city’s maritime collection, including ship models, posters, photographs and ephemera from the great liners such as menu cards and souvenirs.”
There are two ‘modern examples’ that the “Golden Age” style is still alive and well. A recent copy of this magazine has publicised the imminent cessation of the lifeline sea link to St Helena. Resident Emma-Jane Richards, has created a commemorative poster to mark the vessel’s retirement. She reminisces about the service to the South Atlantic island of St Helena and the proposed withdrawal of the RMS St Helena.
She has also created a striking commemorative poster, very definitely in the Golden Age / Art Deco style to mark the vessel’s retirement. In Emma’s words:
“To some she is just a boat that simply transports cargo and mail to and from our island home. But to many the RMS St Helena represents far more than that, she has tirelessly served the people of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha. Bringing long lost friends and family back home on triumphant returns. She’s been the backdrop to childhood adventures and given Saints everywhere something to be proud off. If you have had the pleasure and privilege of travelling or working on the RMS St Helena you, my friend, have been a part of a beautiful history.”