While walking amongst elegant public rooms, cabins and even corridors it is striking to look upon the amount of artwork of different styles and types which ORIANA carries for the pleasure of her passengers as the publicity at the time boasted ORIANA features more pieces of original art than The National Gallery in London.
While it is not rare for ships to carry art collection for ORIANA P&O decided to ensure that the ship would be known for her art collection to as much as her excellent amenities.
Working with both the architects and builders P&O appointed two art advisers Tom Tempest-Radford & Philomena Davidson Davis to oversee the creation of ORIANA’s unique collection.
Philomena Davidson Davis in her workshop.
Davidson Davis who among her other accomplishments had created the titular monsters of the 1986 film Aliens was to advise on sculptures to place on board while Tempest-Radford who among other roles had worked for renowned auction house Christies would be advising on paintings.
So why was it so important for ORIANA to have so much attention paid to art work alone?
To quote Carnival UK’s Chief Executive David Dingle who was in 1995 P&O’s Marketing Director “We want to add to the prestige and status of ORIANA by placing on board a collection which from the beginning, has value and merit and which is likely to grow in importance throughout the life of the ship”
In order to achieve its aim with the artwork P&O laid down some important criteria which each peace had to fit, these were:
-To have been produced by a British Artist/sculptor.
-The artworks would have to be aesthetically pleasing to enhance the room and ship in general.
-The artworks should be able to appeal to passengers with or without knowledge.
Alongside collecting pre-existing pieces to be placed on board there were also several pieces especially commissioned by P&O.
7 sculptors had been approached by P&O to create works, these varied in terms of theme and location on board from a bronze boat sculpture of a rowing boat located by the Crystal Pool, the largest pool on board to two character studies of comic actor Charlie Chaplin which stands outside the Cinema named in his honour. The original intention had been to have a statue of Chaplin one side of the cinema entrance and an actress the other side but it the decision of which to use was a difficult one so eventually two statues of Chaplin himself was used.
Not to be overshadowed also features ORIANA features over 3000 paintings on board throughout the ship.
While P&O’s maritime heritage serves as inspiration for many of the painting which featuring many of P&O’s past ships dating from the company’s earliest days up to CANBERRA it was very important that the artwork wasn’t overly nautical in theme so as to appeal to a wide range of tastes.
By far the largest piece of art on board the mural painted by Rose Warnock depicting Greek Mythology, which takes up the majority of the aft wall of The Peninsular Restaurant.
Although not to be out done other public rooms which also feature some excellent displays such as Lord’s Tavern’s impressive Mural depicting a view of its namesake the Lord’s cricket ground in London as well as featuring signed cricket Memorabilia adorning the walls.
While up on deck 8 Art work of a very different kind decorates the walls of the Curzon room in the form of tapestries from Artist Alice Kettle.
While the use of the room has changed since ORIANA’s introduction into service the room’s character has remained consistent throughout due to the décor and in particular the tapestries remaining unchanged.
According to Commodore Gibb Froggy had been disappointed that the painting depicted SS ORIANA in P&O livery rather than her original corn coloured Orient livery.