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Lee Gilliland

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Looking through my semi-extensive collection of photographs, I see no flowers whatsoever - a few potted plants in the Verandah and Cafe and in the Reading and Writing Room, and that's the lot. Anyone else spot any?
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Randy,

I once had a discussion with someone as to where the possible 8-seater Widener table was. There was no single table in the room capable of seating 8, the largest being capable of accommodating 6 comfortably.

My own proposal is that two tables were placed together. I don't have any plans with me at the moment, but the Titanic Dec. 1911 accommodation plan gives numbers to the tables in the restaurant. There was a large square table and a smaller 2-seater table in the middle of the room, at the aft end opposite the buffet. I suggest that these two were placed together to form a larger table where 8 people could be seated together.

All the other tables in the room are either round, or small square/rectangular. No two round tables can be put together to form a large table for 8 people.

I can't quite think of where I read it, but I'm sure there was more to daffodils in the restaurant that Lucile's account. Perhaps after all, by 1932 she could no longer remember the exact flower that was at her table ... although there has got to me more to converting roses to daffodils.

Regards,

Daniel.

PS. I sent you an e-mail a few days ago, and was wondering if you've received it? Or has it disappeared into unknown locations of cyberspace?
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Dec 7, 2000
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Lee,

Most of the photos you'd see would have been taken during times when the flowers would not have been aboard yet. Most of the Titanic and Olympic photos were taken either at Harland and Wolff, or if at Southampton, it would have been taken several days before departure.

As Bob mentioned, there's some information about flowers etc., in Titanic Voices. There's also at least one more account in the book where I think Eileen Conyngham remembered it to be the ship of flowers. There must have been plenty of locations where flowers were eventually placed.

Fr. Browne's double exposure photo shows some flowers on the tables in the starboard Private Promenade. However, these were either a 'happy birthday' or bon voyage gesture by friends or the White Star Line. Others to receive flowers from friends (that I can think of) were the Strauses and the Duff Gordons. There must have been many others.

Anyway, with the multitudes of flowers and plants delivered aboard Titanic, various pot plants would have gone to the Verandah Café, Read and Write room, B deck reception room, D deck reception room. Some flowers may even have been displayed on tables in various public rooms on sailing day ... which is the only way I can think of Eileen remembering Titanic to be the ship of flowers.

Regards,

Daniel.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Daniel,

I just opened your email -- forgive me. Your email address is very similar to that of another friend's and I thought I had already read it! Again apologies. I'm intrigued by your project and will be happy to help if I can. I will be in touch.

Thanks for the info on the Widener table.

Regarding daffodils -vs.-roses. I am sure Lucile would not have missed a detail as important as flowers! She might have gotten other things wrong about Titanic but on such serious feminine matters as clothes, decor and flowers, she can be trusted completely!
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Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Always good to end the day with flowers. The red American Beauty made its appearance in 1886 in European gardens but its cousin, the white American Beauty was a hit in 1901 and may well have been our Titanic rose. Now we have that green floral cellular foam called OASIS, nearly anything can be held in place but that was only invented in 1954 so Titanic flowers were placed in chicken wire, clay, metal grid or pin frogs, or one of those clever heavy glass wafer disks with many holes through the top. OASIS was used to pack the Titanic artifacts in at sea until they could be brought to the lab for conservation- soaked in sea water of course! Probably the flower container was silver or metal and was not too high as it was for a centerpiece- tall glass vases would have toppled right over. I have often wished one would be found in the debris field. I would bet it was a low silver bowl or compote. Generally daffs, iris, and tulips -as well as other bulb type flowers, are deep drinkers and hate OASIS as it clogs the fleshy stems. They do better in deep water arranged as a single-type flower bouquet and need water replenishing daily. However, the roses and daisies idea makes sense- as a well- arranged bowl of roses and shasta-type daises would last the whole voyage as the stems are more woody and both "hold their heads" well. Daffodils were in season on April 14th- the roses must have been either hothouse or imported. I can just envision a silver bowl of pink roses and white American beauties with daisies- and somewhere once I read there were little table lamps with pink shades. Sounds divine.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Lee-

"Last Dinner on the Titanic" mentions, in the table setting section: "...and likely each man would have found a red carnation boutonniere supplied by Bealing of Southhampton." That is the only reference to buds-for-fellows I have come across. Remembering that, imagine my disappointment when on my cruise last summer I saw no trace of a boutonniere at MY table setting!

Sorry, just had to get that out...I feel better now
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Were flowers brought on board by other couriers? I'm thinking of "GRETCHEN".

Take care-
Kris
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Kris- you must come to Newport to Chateau Sur Mer mansion where Miss Edith Peabody Wettmore's gentlemen's boutoniere stand resides in the hallway. A two-tiered confection of a piece of wooden furniture, it held tiny blown-glass vases, each holding a buttonhole posey for the men in the house who never left their front door without their silk handkerchief, pocket watch and boutoniere. I still remember when all men's suits had a buttonhole worked in the left lapel for such an adornment- ah- the Gilded Age- those were the days. I should be delighted to pin a carnation on you My Dear- all the Newport Gilded Age convention gentlemen will be sporting one on Friday night the 25th of April!
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Daniel,

Lucy Duff Gordon had lilies of the valley in her cabin -- these were in a big basket. Her staff of models and salesgirls gave her a "send off" breakfast at the Paris Ritz and presented her with these flowers. I am in touch now with the family of one of these "Lucile girls," as Lucy calls them in her memoir -- Mlle. Raymonde "Ray" Elie. She was Lucy's administrative assistant in Paris. Ray recalled that:

"...Madam's eyes were awash at our floral tribute as she came to kiss us each one by one on the cheek..."

Ray told later of the commotion created in the studio upon news of the Titanic disaster and how the managers of the Paris branch could not keep the press away. Droves of customers, she said, descended upon the salon in the rue de Penthievre and held vigil with the employees until news arrived by telegram of Lucy's safety. Ray recalls that among the patrons who came to call during the crisis was Sarah Bernhardt who left her card and hugged all the girls in the shop. She even asked to see the sewing girls who sat weeping at their machines.

This may surprise those who have the idea that Lucy Duff Gordon was cold and unfeeling. The truth is she was a warm person who inspired a great deal of affection and love.

Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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How I wish we had time to drink in Chateau Sur Mer- an Eastlake triumph, and my favorite mansion- we shall be going to the Vanderbilt Breakers and the Astor's Beechwood. Some folks are coming a day early and staying until Tuesday to visit more of the attractions like Rosecliff (the setting for Great Gatsby & True Lies), Belcourt Castle-home of the Armour meat-packing clan, Marble House, the Elms, Ochre Point- so many things to see.
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Kris!

>"Last Dinner on the Titanic" mentions, in the >table setting section: "...and likely each man >would have found a red carnation boutonniere >supplied by Bealing of Southhampton."

Thanks very much for sharing that information with us. Of course, the key word in the above quote is the word "likely," which seems to mean that the author has no specific evidence to document the actual presence of boutonieres on each table.

All my best,

George
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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White Star's publicity material from 1911 includes artwork of the First Class dining room and the restaurant, with places set for dinner. In both rooms the centrepiece of each table is a lamp, with no sign of flowers. On the smaller restaurant tables, it's hard to see that there would be room for flowers as well as the lamp. While these artists' impressions do not necessarily show the reality, they are very detailed and it's likely that they reflect the 'custom and practice' of White Star at the time.

With the same reservations, it's interesting that the restaurant drawing shows two rows of tables, one of four-seaters and one of eight-seaters. The arrangement of the 'alcoves' is clearly visible and, if accurate, not quite what we might expect from the ET deckplan. Randy, if you have 'Birth of the Titanic' these pics are on page 137.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Second thoughts about the table lamps. It was clearly intended at some stage that Titanic should have them in the First Class dining areas, but photographic evidence does not support this. There's a photo of the restaurant in 'Illustrated History' which shows neither lamps nor flowers on the small tables, but something which looks like a water carafe or wine bucket at the centre.

Other photos show that tables in the Second Class dining room were decorated with rather hefty pot plants (I've seen these also in pics of the First Class dining room on the Mauretania), while Third Class had bowls of apples.
 

Kyrila Scully

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When my mother took a cruise on the Mardi Gras back in the 70's, she noted that the stewards arranged their nightclothes in different positions each night, each position having a different meaning. Now I know the Victorians held great store in flowers having particular meanings and I am wondering if the table and cabin stewards presented flowers with meaning as well as decor?

Kyrila
 
Dec 7, 2000
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If Titanic ever intended to have table lamps, then how come Olympic never had them? I have never seen any photos of either the Restaurant or the D deck dining room at any stage of Olympic's life with table lamps. I think they might have been part of the original design, and thus were included on the artists' drawings, but were never implemented in the end.

Daniel.
 

Bob Godfrey

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I think that's what I said - if not, it's what I meant to say! I wonder if the artist's expectations were influenced by the table lamps commonly seen in that other bastion of First Class cuisine on the move - the Pullman railcar.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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A few years ago a company came out with "Titanic Lamps" which were also called Wells Fargo lamps- they were brass with a little brass shade. I can see why these would not have been practical in the center of the table- also any type of tall vase.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Those repro brass lamps (electric, but made to look like oil lamps) were orignally marketed with an Orient Express nameplate. The design was recycled with a new nameplate to cash in on Titanic fever. They were described as 'cabin lamps' or 'desk lamps'. I don't know whether they were any more authentic for the train than for the ship!
 
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