The only place I have seen this sketch was in a double issue of the Titanic Commutator published sometime in the mid to latter 1970's. The sketch was fairly rough as someone would make when just roughly discussing design. I don't even remember any reference given for who made the sketch.
The endpapers of: The Birth of the Titanic by McCaughan show what are labelled as: "Original design drawings for the Olympic and Titanic, prepared by Harland & Wolff and approved in Belfast on 29 July 1908 by Bruce Ismay and other White Star Line directors." - They show 4 funnels; but only a forward mast.
Thanks Bob and Lester for your feedback. I've been wanting to learn more about those early plans since I read about them in a Swedish Titanic book in the end of the '80s. McCaughan's book seems to be interesting, is it still available in print?
I did a little digging and discovered some additional information. First, the Titanic Commutator issue that had the early sketch of Olympic was a 1976 double issue covering Olympic.
The sketch was done by Robert Gibbons who was a
co-editor of the Titanic Commutator. He did the sketch presumably sometime around 1976 so it isn't something contemporary to the original plans. His sketch was based on one line from the book "The Ismay Line" written by Wilton J. Oldham (printed in England by Charles Birchall and Sons Ltd. in 1961). The line from this book that he based his sketch on was "original design of Olympic and Titanic was 3 funnels with 3 or 4
masts." That statement is imprecise to say the least. So it appears that there were never any preliminary plans drawn to this early proposal.
If there were then it doesn't appear that they survived.
The sketch was fairly crude. It showed 3 funnels and 4 masts. It looks like just an increased size member of the White Star "Big Four" liners which preceeded the Olympic class.
I'm sure you could probably do about as well sketching an H&W ship with "3 funnels and 3 or 4 masts".
They remind me a bit of the "Big Four" but that shouldn't be much of a surprise, assuming those sketches are genuine. From what I understand, Harland & Wolff built ships that tended to look, if nothing else, like improved evolutionary revisions and enlargements of earlier designs.
BTW, are these genuine earlier sketches? That second one is coloured and they look a tad amaturish. Sorry if I sound a little overly skeptical, but I like to know what the sources really are.
While the first picture looks very crude, the second looks fine. Clearly the work of an amateur, nevertheless this second picture could be a good impression how those early plans looked (if they were finalized).
I scanned the image in the 1976 issue of the Titanic Commmutator. It was a simple sketch by then co-editor Robert Gibbons. I don't know the source of the second painting posted above.