The Mauretania in color May-June 1933


Eric Longo

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Hi All:

Below is a link to a period magazine image I have recolored utilizing color references I gained from recently restoring a few dozen extremely rare color slides of the Aquitania taken at the same location. Those beautiful images will be published in Mark Chirnside's excellent upcoming book.
This image shows the Mauretania being painted cruise white at Berth 108 of the "New Docks" in May/June of 1933. The first link leads to a small scan of the original magazine image which was terribly oversaturated with incorrect colors. The second link is to my "finished" recolor. For a printed screened image my recolored version did not come out that bad considering I did it rather quickly - I could not go for absolute realism so I aimed for more of an atmospheric result. I hope you like it.

<font color="000000">Original magazine image

<font color="ff6000">Recolored "The Mauretania being painted at the New Docks"

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Jason:

The original magazine image I worked from is a colored drawing made from a b/w photograph which I have seen online but can't recall just where. I have in my collection a unique photocard that is nearly identical to this image and several photographs taken at Berth 101, near the newly built Solent Flour Mills. In those candid snapshots her paint job is nearly complete and she is dressed in flags for her return to service in June.

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Jason:

The magazine the original image came from was Shipping Wonders of the World. It has a wonderful little history of the Mauretania and some neat photographs including one or two from her war service as well as the color plate. I tried to find the original b/w photograph the colored magazine drawing was based on for you but I can't find it.

Best,
Eric
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Thank you for the info, Eric. I appreciate it.
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Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Jason,

I was unhappy with the results you saw and, starting from scratch, I completely redid the image with much more accurate results. I added more depth, reflected light, redid the funnel and crane colors, added detail inside the cowl vent and basically altered everything. I was very pleased with the colors of the docks. The funnel color was the hardest to get! I hope you like it.

The link below shows the changes from my last recolored image to my final new image.

<font color="ff6000">Image Comparison

Best,
Eric
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Wow, thanks Eric! I thought it looked very nice before, but now the water looks especially realistic, and the cowl vent does look much better.

I sure would not have wanted to be one of those ship painters - hanging off the side of a sheer drop by just sittin' on a board! Much safer to paint ships from the vantage point of a computer. Lucky you!
happy.gif
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Jason:

Thanks!
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Yes, much safer than hanging from a scaffold, and from across the pond as well! I was surprised with the near realistic effect considering this is a drawing. You kind words are appreciated. The first redo just did not look like June.

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Jason,

I redid the colors on the right image in the last link - I think I got the funnel color correct finally. I cleaned up the bridge and a few other details as well.

Best and happy holidays,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Jason,

well, I am just starting to get the recoloring stuff down. I usually do color or b/w restoration of vintage slides or prints, not tinting or coloring of b/w images. Often I am working on restoring my photographs of the Mauretania or color correcting and cleaning up 35mm slides from my own collection of 1939 World's Fair candids. This experience helped me with the Aquitania images. An example of a reasonably finished N.Y. World's Fair slide can be seen here:

Communications Building at The New York World's Fair of 1940.

Here is a "before and after" of another slide from the same Fair but taken in 1939 of the U.S.S.R Pavilion (gone in 1940) - not quite done yet with this one but you'll get the idea:

U.S.S.R. Pavilion 1939 before and after.

There is an image of the Mauretania from my collection in John Maxtone-Graham's new book Normandie that I made from a previously unpublished contact print that is less than 1 inch across - reproduced on page 170. I had to both restore it and make it printable at 5" x 7" and that was a good deal of work - "faked" skies and mountains etc. I think it came out fairly well.

There is a recolor of the Titanic in the thread link below that was my first actual recolor and it came out pretty good - ninth post:

Link to Titanic recolor thread.

To answer your question, the colors of the Aquitania and the Mauretania were very much the same from what I can tell. The vibrant yet dull Cunard orange is difficult to reproduce! Thank you for the link - those images are wonderfully evocative! And the "New Docks" are seen - the location of the recolored image we have been discussing! And I see some corrections I need to make to the docks.

Best,
Eric
 
Feb 4, 2007
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That image of the Communications Building is very stunning. It's always startling to me to see pre-1950's images in color - esp. VIBRANT c<font color="ff6000">olo<font color="aa00aa">r. Well done! Thank you for sharing!

You see, I thought color hadn't been invented by that time, and everyone just lived their lives in shades of gray or sepia until 'flower power' came along in the 60's and gave the world a shimmering and colorful new dimension ~ I jest, of course.
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I'm glad you liked the film clip. That particular YouTube member's films are favorite destinations of mine. He has quite a few rare maritime clips there, and has added sound to them in a very effective way.
 
K

Kyle Johnstone

Guest
Off Topic, but not...

Speaking of early color images,
here is a collection of photos, in color, from WW1:
http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/
The images seem all that more provocative being in color.

Eric, I wish I had your patience! I'm very much enjoying the fruits of your labors...
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Kyle,

thanks for the kind words Kyle! Not off-topic at all - you actually beat me to linking it! See this link and the others. Quite incredible:

Link to Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii's work

Color separation itself was around as early as 1861 with Scottish physicist James Clerk-Maxwell's separation/slide projection system - he produced the first permanent color photographic prints that same year. Louis Ducos du Hauron was also making impressive color prints of the French countryside for several years by 1877. By the turn of the century full sensitivity to red was achieved. Panchromatic film was available by 1906, finally allowing quality color photography. The Autochrome process was patented in 1903 and commercially introduced in June 1907 by the Lumiere Brothers. The link is to a plate by Leonid Andreev. It was the first practical color photography available. Dufay and Finlay color transparencies were available in 1908. Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii produced amazing glass photographs of the Russian countryside from 1909-1915 that look like they were taken digitally yesterday when properly re-assembled (first link above).
While I've never seen a glass plate Autochrome of Lusitania or Mauretania, or any other early liner, I don't rule out the possibility at all. Someone must have photographed them. I do have in my collection one high quality full color postcard taken at Liverpool aboard the Mauretania and the original image used to photomechanically produce the card may have been an Autochrome or other early color process. I also have a Dufay transparency in my collection but that is of the 1939 World's Fair - the process was obsolete by 1940. Thanks again for the encouraging words regarding my recolored image!

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

thought I'd share this quick tint I did on a recent item I added to my collection. Did it just a few minutes, but I think I got a nice mood if not totally realistic. Hope you enjoy
happy.gif

Comments welcome.

Quick launch tint

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Jason,
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It was pure b/w to start - a printed image too. It is a "dream view." The weather that day was rather rainy and overcast if memory serves so I went with "wet" greens and such. I added the text. What did you think?

Best,
Eric
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Is there a particular effect you are going for ~ such as the look of an original tinted photo (as in tinted at the concurrent period of the launch)? Or are you trying for "true to life" colors (if that's even possible with a b/w image - I honestly don't know)?

Regardless, it's definitely a "Kodak Moment"
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If only one could step back in time to observe.....just for a moment.....
 

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