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Lot 80: MONTAGUE BIRREL BLACK (1884 - ?). WHITE STAR LINE / "OLYMPIC & TITANIC." Circa 1910. 40x25 inches, 101x63 cm.Platinum House
November 18, 2009
New York, NY, USALive Auction
MONTAGUE BIRREL BLACK (1884 - ?) WHITE STAR LINE / "OLYMPIC & TITANIC." Circa 1910.
40x25 inches, 101 1/2x63 1/2 cm.
Condition B: tears, creases and staining in margins and image; losses at edges; tape along edges and on verso. Paper.
An exceptional artistic rendition of the Olympic, likely completed before the ship was officially launched. This image was clearly a favorite of the White Star Line publicity department, as it appeared on numerous forms of promotional material, including a postcard (issued some time in 1910) announcing that the Olympic had been launched on "Oct. 20, 1910" and that the Titanic, which was currently being built at Belfast, would "be in commission 1911." The image also appeared on menus, advertisements, a 2nd class passenger list on the Titanic and the cover of a 1911 souvenir edition of the Shipbuilder. Often mistaken as a poster of the Titanic itself, this is not the case. If the design was a portrait of the completed ship her name would appear on the bow. Furthermore, when the Titanic was launched she weighed 46,329 tons, heavier than her sister ship as a result of enclosing one of her upper promenade decks, a fact that would have been unknown to the publicity department before construction was finished. Finally, the enclosed upper deck is not depicted here. Still this is an extremely rare poster, with only a few copies having come up for auction over the past 25 years. Likely once the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, the White Star Line would have pulled and destroyed as many of these posters as they could.
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