Honour and Glory Crowing Time

Philip Hind

Staff member
Sep 1, 1996
Just released on ET Research


"WE KNOW well the allegorical figures of Honour and Glory. They appear as heraldic supporters to the clock located the alcove atop the Titanic’s Grand Staircase. Are they just pleasant carvings, or could the whole panel actually symbolise – encapsulate, even – the White Star Line’s corporate attitude?
It may be worth a moment’s pleasant pause to survey the scene depicted. Because for nigh on a century, ever since the same creation was installed on the Olympic, it has stood as an emblem of the class of super ships that was once new, but became ever associated with loss..."

Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
I thoroughly enjoyed this occasionally playful look at this iconic piece - decorative arts incorporating symbolism (classical, pagan, Christian etc) have always been of interest to me, be they funerary sculpture or Edwardian interior decorating. These allegorical figures are so often written about in the blazon of fittings that seems to have a place in virtually every general Titanic book (a convention beautifully satirised by Senan in the past), they make a very interesting focal point for an article.

The parallel drawn with the Imperator's eagle was particularly intriguing, given the inferences often drawn from "my field is the world" and the apparently aggressive stance of the figurehead.

Great article - highly recommended.

Eric Longo

Aug 13, 2004

I am not sure I agree with the analysis in this article, much of which is fueled by hindsight. I think this is more mournful and respectful which would fit with much of the symbolism of the day re these subjects anyway. Symbolism of this sort is not my strong suit, but I believe those are palm fronds of peace held by angels as one has a hand raised and a finger pointed to god. Palm may also signify mans fickle attitude to acclamation.
I think the laurel wreath is victory spiritually, as well as in the arts, and could signify mourning and respect also.
That is not a newel post supporting time but a column or pedestal meant to signify God and the angles his presence; the leaning wreath is interesting in this context as it may point to a life cut short in period funereal contexts. Also Psalm 8:5 is interesting depending on how you interpret it - if it is relevant in some way. Much of this relief seems quite solemn.
The tablet/book is a little unusual in that it is not held in the right hand — isn't that the book of life and not a list of victories?
The three floral embellishments on the pedestal/column are perhaps a nod to the Three Fates as well. There also seem to be two six-pointed stars. Looking forward to other interpretations.

May 27, 2007
Interesting points indeed. Never really thought about the clock. It does have a strange symbolism to it at that. Great article. Makes you think, which are the best kind of articles.

Mike Poirier

Dec 31, 2004
I have never contemplated the symbols attached the the clock and I am glad Senan has thought to do so. Everyone may not agree with his assessments, but I enjoyed the article, and it made me wonder about something that normally I would not have. That's the mark of an author.

'pretentious twaddle'.... I hope that was joke. There's not a ghost of a chance that this article is twaddle... A pretentious statement within itself.

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