Since the dawn of advertising luxury brands have sought partnerships to increase their cache among clientele. In 1912 champagne maker Moet & Chandon was set to do so with the White Star Line and their new ships OLYMPIC and TITANIC. The match was nearly obvious due a naming coincidence. Moet had been producing dry champagne under the label White Star since 1865; and it was their flagship imprint in the U.S. for over a century.
The White Star line started even earlier, in 1845. Though TITANIC’s fate would briefly interfere, the companies did associate and Moet’s White Star champagne was served aboard White Star Liners for many years and later also Cunard White Star Ships like QUEEN MARY.
In this outstanding and colorful portrait, the QUEEN MARY sails toward a bottle of Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne which floats in the water. The painting is nearly complete, with only pieces of text remaining to fill in. At the top the banner reads, “Cunard WHITE STAR LINE- The Only Choice for the Discerning Traveller”. Below, the usual transatlantic route is listed - “Southampton, Cherbourg, New York”.
QUEEN MARY represented a turning point in the history of ocean liners. The Great Depression along with change in U.S. immigration quotas greatly decreased the number of passengers crossing the Atlantic. Former giants of U.K. shipping Cunard and White Star were nearing financial disaster in 1934 when future British PM, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlin proposed the two companies merge, retire older ships in both fleets and together build a new liner with modern technology, design and comfort. If agreed, the British Government would give the new company a loan of £3 million towards the new ship – which would become the QUEEN MARY.
The new ship formally launched from John Brown’s yard at Clydebank September 26, 1934 with her namesake monarch presiding at the event. Completely fitted out by the spring of 1936, she steamed into service to Southampton on March 27, 1936 with much fanfare and several tugboat escorts. She would go on to become a Blue Riband liner that year as the fastest passenger liner to cross the Atlantic. She would claim the title again in 1938.
QUEEN MARY would make 1,002 voyages in her 31-year career, traveling 3,795,000 miles, transporting 2,115,000 fare-paying passengers. At start of WWII, she was converted to a troop transport and carried more than 800,000 British, Australian and American troops. She would go back to passenger service after the war, but with air travel on the rise, she would leave Southampton for the last time on October 31, 1967 on a farewell five week tour that would take the ship around Cape Horn to her new home, permanent mooring in Long Beach, California- where she remains today as an event venue, hotel and museum.
The QUEEN MARY is one of only four ocean liners made before WWII still in existence worldwide. A floating landmark, the ship is a living monument to the refined era of transatlantic travel and what once represented the finest in luxury experience.
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