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Ken Marschall vs Simon Fisher breakup painting

Discussion in 'Titanic Artwork' started by Dan Kappes, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. Its to be noted that one should never really ever consider those drawings (which where not drawn by Thayer), its been fairly well established that what thayer saw was most likely a large section of the Grand staircase floating up. The bow section was anything from 60-80% filled at the time of the break up
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  2. Me and Titanic Animations have talked extensively about what happened to the stern, and it seems what JC's original portrayal it is closer to what happened compared to the 2012 theory.

    Anyway thats a story for another day, back to topic:D
  3. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    Going from top to bottom in the two rows of those Thayer sketches, the first two are drawn by conjecture, since Jack Thayer was still on board the Titanic at the equivalent times. The remaining four would have been during the time that he had just jumped into the icy Atlantic and swimming for his life towards the overturned Collapsible B. Considering what actually happened, his sketches are not that far off the mark, even though, as you say, the bow almost certainly did not briefly resurface. The swinging around of the stern as it sank is interesting; here and some of the earlier depictions in the late 1980s to early 1990s, it is shown as though the stern swung around first and then started to sink. But more likely, and a s shown in Cameron's 2012 re-imagining of the sinking, the stern listed sharply to port, started to sink and partly swung around at the same time.

    Incidentally, the Thayer sketches are the very first things that I saw about the Titanic as a kid, even though I was too young to get interested at the time. I own a complete 10-volume set of the 1953 Coronation Edition of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia; it was with my adopted family and I first read it in about 1962. There is a brief article about the Titanic in one of the volumes, including a comment about how it was not later believed that the ship broke into two as it sank.

    As for those early sketches depicting the break-up after the wreck was discovered, I might have made a mistake in thinking that they were in Eaton & Haas' book. I have many books on the Titanic and at 63 years of age should be forgiven for such a slip-up ;). Let me go though my collection and find it.

    Edit: Found it! Yes, I made a mistake above. Those early post-discovery diagrams of the Titanic breaking up and sinking were actually depicted in pp 204-5 of the book The Discovery Of The Titanic by Dr Robert Ballard and not in the Eaton & Haas book as I had first remembered. It was first published in 1987 and as was thought at the time, the ship broke-up at after achieving an angle of about 30 degrees and between the third and fourth funnels. Also, the diagrams show that after the bow section had detached and sank down, the stern section swung around and became almost vertical before itself sinking.

    The sinking bow being still attached to the stern at the keel and so literally pulling the latter vertical was hypothesized in the 1990s and was shown in Cameron's film. By then the 'stern swing' theory was less popular.

    The current thinking I believe is that the break-up started at a much shallower angle, probably around 11 degrees at which time the 'bending forces' on the keel (as demonstrated in Sam Halpern's graphs) were at the greatest. Also, it was between the 2nd and 3rd funnels and after the bow separated and sank, the stern section listed sharply to port, started to sink and partly swung around at the same time.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  4. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I believe Jack Thayer's sketch is significant evidence. Below the drawings is a description which says they were sketched by Jack Thayer and later coloured in by Mr. Skidmore who would naturally take the credit as a famous artist for the publication of Thayer's rough sketch on the Carpathia. The drawings were based on the original sketches by Jack Thayer and would be accepted as evidence regarding the ship breaking and her bow momentarily bobbing up again. This is after all what a number of survivors saw.

    Mrs. Chaffee
    "The ship sank steadily until just at the last, when it plunged rapidly. Just before going down it seemed to writhe (twist), breaking into the three parts into which it was divided. First the middle seemed to go down, lifting bow and stern into the air. Then it twisted the other way, throwing the middle up. Finally the bow went under, and it plunged, stern last."


    The bow and stern would rise upwards as the middle dropped down.

    Mrs. Hippach
    "We heard a fearful explosion. I saw the ship split open. At the same time the ship's bow rose up in the air as the steamer sank towards the center."

    Ellen Walcroft
    "She just broke in two and the ends were sticking up."

    Nellie Becker
    "She seemed to break right in the middle, and the middle fell in."

    Jack Thayer
    "The water was over the base of the first funnel....The ship appeared to split well forward to midship, and bow or buckle upwards."

    Percy Oxenham
    "The halves seemed to rise out of the water, gaining impetus for the great trip to the bottom 2,000 fathoms deep.

    Thomas Dillon (On the ship near the stern)
    "The bow seemed to bob up and then break off like a piece of carrot."

    Susie Webber
    "There was an explosion, and then I saw the leviathan part in the middle. The stern rose high in the air. The bow less high."

    William Mellors (On the ship near the bridge)
    "Suddenly, her nose (the bow) on which I was on, seemed to suddenly rise from underneath the water and I, and a few more that were close by cut the ropes that held the boat (collapsible boat) to the falls (davits)."

    Eugene Daly (On the ship near the bridge)
    "I reached a collapsible boat that was fastened to the deck by two rings. It could not be moved. During that brief time that I worked on cutting one of those ropes, the Titanic gave a lurch downward (bow breaking off) and we were in the water up to our hips. She rose again slightly, and I succeeded in cutting the second rope."

    Cecil Fitzpatrick (On the ship near the bridge) His account describes the bow righted itself up again and he looked over the bridge and down at her forecastle head and saw people struggling in the water down there. This would signify the degree in which the bow bobbed back up after it detached from the heavy stern.


    The above survivors were a combination of witnesses who were on the ship, in the water close to the ship, in the closest lifeboats to the ship, and far away from the ship. They all pretty much described the same thing as she broke apart and her middle sank down and both ends rose up.

    When the lowest floors of the bow had flooded up to E-deck the ship would settle down at the bow and stop because there was no more weight being added. The water now had access to the open E-deck corridor which moved aft and down into the centre of the ship. Mr. Wheat witnessed the water moving up the starboard side corridor on E-deck and down the staircase which led down into the middle sections of the ship on F-deck. Survivors saw many open portholes which would allow the water to rush in much further aft and down into the various staircases that were amidships and aft. e.g.

    Emily Ryerson
    Q - When you went down into the water, from the boat, did you notice anything about the portholes in the side of the ship?
    A - Yes, a great many were open.

    Charles Joughin
    Q - On E deck are the portholes in practice opened from time to time?
    A - Very, very often we keep them open the whole of the passage.

    As the water rushed into the top decks via the open portholes it would make the ship top heavy and the passengers were ordered to move to the starboard side to keep the ship balanced owing to her top heavy weight of water rushing in amidships.

    Miss Glynn
    "We watched the Titanic rolling and bobbing like a cork."

    Mr. Haggan
    "The ship was shaking very much".

    Mr. Hemming
    "The captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."

    Mr. Barkwork
    "I remember somebody shouted: 'Go gently!' as if a sudden shift of weight would have disturbed the ship's position."

    Mr. Lightoller
    "The ship seemed to be heaving tremendous sighs."

    Jack Thayer - He noticed the passengers were keeping their distance away from the side of the ship.

    The ship was now settling low in the water and rocking left and right and twisting herself as her bow would lean one way and her stern would lean the other and the twisting motion would cause plates on both sides to buckle. She now listed over to port and settling down much more bodily. As the water continued to flood into the middle of the ship the survivors watched the forward tilt disappear and they watched her sink much more bodily as her decks all sank in unison. e.g.

    4th officer Boxhall
    "The ship was settling bodily....The ship was settling down broadside."

    Mrs. Dick
    "We saw one deck after another sink from view."

    Caroline Bonnell
    "Deck by deck we watched the lights go out as the boat dropped lower and lower in the sea....The Titanic kept settling lower and lower.......She seemed already to be only half her former height."

    Edwina Troutt
    "As we were rowing away we could see the Titanic gradually sinking......This row of lights would disappear and the next row of lights disappeared."

    Mrs. Harris
    "I looked up. Five ribbons of porthole lights that converged from the stern to the bow quickly became four, then three, then two, then one."

    Violet Jessop
    "I started unconsciously to count the decks by the rows of lights. One, two, three, four, five, six. Then again, one, two, three, four, five. There were only five decks now. Then I started all over again. Only four now. She was getting lower in the water, I could not any longer deny it. Only three decks now, and still not a list (tilt) to one side or the other."

    She settled by the bow at first, but once this stopped and the water moved aft and flooded into the middle sections from E-deck down to F-deck etc she would sink bodily.


    Albert Pearcey was in collapsible C which left the ship shortly before she broke in two. He was asked:

    Q - Did you see the vessel go down?
    A - Yes.
    Q - Were you facing her when she went down?
    A - Yes.

    Q - Did you notice whether she was down by the head?
    A - No, I did not notice.
    Q - Did you notice whether she appeared to be going deeper into the water forward? Did you notice that?
    A - No.

    Then came a terrific explosion and the ship broke apart.

    Charles Joughin was in his cabin down on E-deck shortly before she broke in two and he noticed the large corridor (Scotland road) on E-deck had no water in it. The ship was significantly down by her port side by that stage and the waterline was several decks above E-deck, but the large corridor on E-deck was still dry at this late stage. This would mean the water was pulling the ship down by an alternative route. The open portholes on the port side would drag her down on that side.

    Fred Barrett was down in boiler room 5 and he believed a bulkhead wall or door may have collapsed as he watched the water rush in. This would mean the water could not spill over the tops, and would instead breach the walls in a domino effect. There were reports that the watertight doors further aft were re-opened so that the pumps could be passed through. This would mean the collapse of the bulkhead would send a rush of water all the way through the ship and filter the water out of the bow. Even when the forward well deck was submerged on the water would still need to travel down and flood all available sections below and amidships before it could flood the upper decks of the bow below the waterline.

    Lightoller was pinned against the gratings that led down to the forward boiler rooms and he felt a terrific expulsion of compressed hot air being burst back out from the boiler rooms. This would mean the compartments had not flooded and the water washed down the vents continued to do so when the ship broke and the bow took a sudden lurch as it detached itself free from the stern and the compressed air burst Lightoller to the surface.

    As the middle of the ship broke and dropped down it would cause the stern and bow to rise up.

    Mr. Thayer said he heard the sound of explosions and metal clanging when he was still on the ship, and he felt the bow was now moving forwards. The bow was breaking itself free from the stern as it moved forwards. When Thayer entered the water he looked back at the ship and saw her breaking in two when - "The water was over the base of the first funnel." Mr. Brown also saw the ship break in two when he was in the water and he believed the bow had broken free from the stern. He was asked: Q - Where were you then? A - "In the water; right before the forward funnel." This matches Thayer's timing of the break up i.e. when the water was at the base of the first funnel.

  5. Dan Kappes

    Dan Kappes Member

    I bet the authors of that 1953 children's encyclopedia were surprised when the wreck was found in two pieces! :D
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  6. Dan Kappes

    Dan Kappes Member

    By the way, Arun, can you please post some photos of the article in that 53 Arthur Mee children's encyclopedia of the Titanic? Does it have any pictures in it?

    I have another children's book set called The Golden Book History of the United States, which was published in 1963. In Volume 7, there is a painting by Alton Tobey of the Titanic breaking in half based on the Thayer sketch, showing the bow buoying back up. Since most people in 1963 believed that the ship sank intact, I wonder why the artist chose to reference the Thayer drawing.

    Here is the painting:
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  7. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    Hi Dan

    Thanks for the picture posted here. As for mine, most of my old books are at present packed away in crates and so cannot be accessed. Our house is on the market and as soon as it is sold my wife and I plan to downsize somewhere near the coast. In preparation for that we have started packing, selling etc. Of course, I'll never sell any of my book collection.

    I can tell you that the pictures are the same Jack Thayer sketches that we all know so well.
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  8. I have always liked Ken Marschall paintings. He's a very talented artist. One of the books I have that I often thumb thru is "Titanic an Illustrated History" by Don Lynch. Its loaded with Ken's work. Really good paintings.
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  9. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    In that case, I very strongly recommend the Giant Cutaway book Inside The Titanic by Marschall himself. It has several great paintings including longitudinal sections showing public rooms etc.
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  10. SmileyGirl

    SmileyGirl Guest

    I don’t have this, I will get it! Was this like a child’s book, perhaps that’s why it passed me by.
  11. I went and read the reviews after Arun recommended it. Some reviewers felt that it was geared more towards children. Its the story of 2 boys on Titanic. Many comments stated that it wasn't very detailed as far as history goes but all seem to agree that the artwork and cutaways were very very good...So?
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  12. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    I don't understand this "geared towards children" comment. The book is mainly for the art and does not pretend to deal with test details about the ship or the accident. It is meant to be a companion to those who have other books about the Titanic and have some background knowledge of the event.
  13. SmileyGirl asked if it was a childrens book. I just passed on what some of the reviewers said on Amazon about it being like that. I'm not saying it is...just what the reviewers stated. I don't have and neither have I seen the book. I'm sure either way its a very good book for the illustrations alone. I'm glad you recommened it for people to check out. I did so Thank You.
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  14. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey Member

    Sorry Steven, I did not mean to sound abrupt with my previous post. I was just surprised that's all, since I never thought of it as a kid's book. If you like Marschall's paintings, I am sure you'll like those in this book.
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  15. Arun, I didn't take your post as being abrupt...just that you didn't understand the comment. It's all good. In my previous post I should have stated "but take any reviews you read on the internet where their selling something with a grain of salt".
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 7:25 AM
  16. SmileyGirl

    SmileyGirl Guest

    I have looked it up and ordered it. I have seen it before and I always felt it was a children’s book for some reason. But I should have got it anyway as anything by Ken Marschall is worth its weight in gold! I never realised he did the illustrations for this book :rolleyes:
  17. SmileyGirl

    SmileyGirl Guest

    I have ordered this as it is Ken Marschall illustrations, which I never realised. Thanks very much again for recommending Arun :)
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  18. Let us know what you think of it when you get it. I'm sure it will be a good book.
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  19. SmileyGirl

    SmileyGirl Guest

    Will do. I have only managed to get a ‘very good copy’. New copies are about £40 on eBay :rolleyes:
  20. SmileyGirl

    SmileyGirl Guest

    This is my favourite Titanic book because of the pictures. I like the painting on the front where it is all overcast. The ship just looks doomed. It’s so atmospheric.
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