Parker Greenwood has created an outstanding image of one of the great pleasure liners of his day. MAJESTIC, a vessel which helped usher in the double-screw era, first sailed on April 2, 1890. Under the British blue yacht ensign, she carried the honor of being a Blue Riband holder as the ship holding the fastest Atlantic crossing to date. Greenwood most likely painted this hard charging scene of the liner proceeding into the face of the current on a direct commission from her owners, the White Star Line. Parker Greenwood was the official artist for the White Star Line.
The powerful sea with its heaving swells exemplifies Greenwood's magnificent ability to capture energy and motion. Under full steam and a windswept sky, the vessel pitches starboard and takes a wave across her bow. Understandably, no passengers appear on deck, save the brave deckhand on lookout astern.
Built by Harland and Wolff, MAJESTIC measured 566' with a beam of 58', the latter dimension being pushed by installation of twin engines. With increased power came less reliability on sail, evident in the simple masts without the usual yard arms and rigging. MAJESTIC was truly one of the first liners with a modern silhouette; all such attributes being magnificently captured here.
The photos of the ship shown here are for reference only. The color image of the skylight shows surviving pieces of MAJESTIC's first class dining saloon which are on display at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.
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