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Author Topic: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?  (Read 2923 times)

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Offline David E

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Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« on: August 15, 2007, 12:23:36 PM »
I've posted this request on behalf of Charlotte Stead, Assistant Curator of Maritime History, National Museums Liverpool: all photos are National Museums Liverpool

These spectacular ashtrays were first invested on the Queen Mary liner, so can be dated reliably to around 1934-39. The quality looks superb, as does the cutting. But can anyone hazard a guess on the maker? Stourbridge?

 :o click to zoom  :o


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David
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Sklounion

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2007, 12:55:09 PM »
Hi David,
I would suggest that Charlotte may want to have a look at the Cunard White Star Lines Archives, which are held by the Harold Cohen Library, in Liverpool.
They are very detailed and there may well be information regarding these ashtrays still in the archives.
As to the date, one may need to be cautious. They could, as you say, date to the five years before the ship was converted to serve as a troopship in the Far East, but could just as easily date to a post-war refit. The QM, was launched in 1934, but fitting-out took the best part of two years, only making her maiden voyage in 1936. If these are from that original period, then  design and supply of the ashtrays is a three year period from 1934 -1936. It is unlikely that they were ordered before that, as the ship very nearly remained uncompleted, but for goverment intervention.
Regards,
Marcus


Offline David E

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2007, 12:59:13 PM »
Thanks Marcus, most helpful, as always.

I think Charlotte intimated that these did date from before 1939. I have suggested she follow this thread, so hopefully she will pick up on this.
David
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Sklounion

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2007, 05:14:59 PM »
Hi David, just to make one futher point, these are likely to be of UK manufacture, for the first or second class passengers.
The massive subsidy given to Cunard to complete this ship along with the Queen Elizabeth, would have made out-sourcing extremely unlikely.
Regards,
Marcus


Offline David E

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2007, 10:19:46 PM »
Thanks Marcus, I think a Stourbridge maker is then more likely.
David
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Sklounion

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 07:08:21 AM »
Hi David,
The major problem may be that the ashtrays are unlikely to carry a makers mark, as that would interfere with the shipping companies emblem or logo. What I would suggest is that there are several potential makers, and interestingly probably two candidates as designers, Keith Murray, and R.Y Goodden. Murray is known to have designed glassware for the Orient Lines "Orion"  of 1935, a ground-breaking example of modern interior design for the maritime environment, designed by Colin Skelton Anderson (later knighted) and his highly-talented chief designer, the New Zealand architect Brian O'Rorke.
If designed by Murray, and I have enquiries out, then Stevens and Williams is one possible manufacturer.
Regards,
Marcus

Offline David E

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 08:28:02 AM »
I appreciate the line of thought. Not sure about Goodden, but I will ask for one of the family to look in. One of his ashtray designs, as you know, is already identified as being produced by Chance.

Anyway, there's web site devoted to Murray's work if anyone is interested:
http://www.keithmurray.co.uk

I've mailed this site to see if this helps.
David
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Offline Bernard C

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2007, 10:09:06 AM »
David — See the topic on John Stonier & Co., recently updated, here.

Stoniers were certainly long-established principal wholesalers to the shipping lines, and, had not the previous discussion taken place, the most obvious source to me for the Queen Mary ashtrays.

It is fairly easy for Charlotte to check.   All she needs is The Complete Factory Pattern Books of Stuart & Sons, privately published in three volumes by Mervyn Gulliver.   I think Liverpool Museums could easily justify the expense of a set because of the Stonier connection.   If she is interested, please ask her to email me — I will be happy to forward her request for details to Mervyn.

Why the apparent and mysterious reluctance of British museum staff to post queries and contributions on the GMB?   We are not that intimidating, are we?

Bernard C.  8)
Text and Images Copyright 200414 Bernard Cavalot

Offline David E

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2007, 10:33:19 AM »
Many thanks, Bernard. As always an interesting contribution - my internal filing cabinet had overlooked this topic 8)

Quote
Why the apparent and mysterious reluctance of British museum staff to post queries and contributions on the GMB?   We are not that indimidating, are we?
Possibly lack of awareness? After all, Charlotte is not an expert on glass but Maritime Affairs, and the ashtray is a teensy-weensy part of the whole Queen Mary archives ;)
David
► The Curious History of the Bulb Vase ◄
 A new book by Patricia Coccoris

Contact ► Cortex Design ◄ to order any book

Sklounion

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Re: Queen Mary Ashtray - any idea on maker, please?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2007, 03:35:28 PM »
Thank you for the Stonier contribution, Bernard. Clearly if the ash-trays, with or without marks, appear in the Stuart catalogues, then all can be squared away very quickly. Part of my reasoning with these being specific to the ship, rather than a generic, off the shelf item, was that the Queen Mary was the first civilian liner to have carried the name of a sovereign or his spouse, previously a privilege retained for vessels of the Royal Navy. That, combined with a realisation that the vessels could serve as shop-windows for the best of British manufacturing and design of the period, was arguably a major shift from the previously followed international liner decorative style, often known as "Hamburg-Amerika", but obviously not exclusive to vessels of that line.
Regards,
Marcus

 

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