• Paul Curtis

Crossings of the Queens

This photo of the famous Mid-Atlantic crossings of the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth put me in mind of a painting by that great marine artist, Stephen Card. Shipping enthusiasts, particularly those who have voyaged with Cunard or HAL, will be familiar with Stephen’s great work. His paintings of ocean liners are a highlight of on-board décor.

Stephen was particularly familiar with the crossings of the Queens as he was a former officer aboard the Queen Elizabeth. He went onto become a captain and later the Harbour Master of Bermuda - an incredible life. Googling Stephen Card brings up a large selection of his marine paintings.

I wanted to use one of Stephen’s paintings as the cover for my book High Tea on the Cunard Queens and Stephen was kind enough to let me dull down his painting of the crossing to use as a background for the cover type. However, the publisher felt that this cover made the book look too much a technical dissertation rather than a story of actual fun life aboard all of Cunard’s Queens. So they created the white cover instead. Only two copies using Stephen’s painting were ever printed. Stephen has one, and I have the other. Stephen probably uses his as his studio doorstop!

The photos here show the various stages of production and a full image with the proper colours of Stephen’s painting. The copyright of the painting, or course, belongs to Stephen Card. The photograph of the Mary from the bridge of the Lizzie is from the archives of Caleb Clark.