I wouldn't really say that the other two photos of Titanic at night are actually drawings. Surely one is not fooled they're entirely authentic, but I think the photographer was so overwhelmed by the site of Titanic all lit up that s/he took some photos. As is with (amateur) night photos today and even more so in 1912 they didn't turn out too well, so they were given some work, and now they're unrecognisable and only look like drawings.
I have just checked sunset times for London on April 10th (very similar to Cherbourg) and this is what I found, along with the following statement:
****Sunrise and Sunset Times: London, April
(Due to only small annual variations in sunrise and sunset times, these figures will work for most applications between 2000 and 2009)****
Presumably these variations are small enough to be roughly applicable to 1912.
Sunset: 6:49 pm (add a minute or two for Cherbourg)
They may just have got away with the picture if the Titanic was photographed immediately on arrival off Cherbourg. I wonder where the photo was taken from as the Nomadic and Traffic would have approached from her starboard side.
It seems that when the Titanic actually left Cherbourg, night would have fallen and she would have been a blaze of light.
I think I've done the French owner of the site an injustice. If you hunt around the site, which is not easy to navigate and tends to run slowly, you'll find another photo. It's taken from the starboard side and shows Titanic and the fort on the breakwater. It appears to have been taken in rather better light.
I don't agree with the times on the site. As Sam says, sunset was at about 6-50 pm. Beesley says it was "just as it grew dusk" when Titanic arrived and I take that to mean pretty well right on sunset.
I would suggest that the photos are from the French press.
I'm no expert on photography, but surely in 1912 much of the detail such as smoke from the funnels and the ships lighting would have been difficult to pick up in that sort of light without touching up the picture.
It seems that the ship is not moving at any rate, with the flag on her after mast quite still, and no visible wake. It also seems that the shadow of the overhang of the poop deck has been captured quite well.
I reckon that Cameron got the lighting more or less correct in the film, and for technical reasons this photo doesn't show the true picture, but it is still a beautiful profile.
I would imagine those are the ones. In all my years of research, I've never come across more than 3 pictures of Titanic at Cherbourg (the 2 above-mentioned ones and that evening-time one that is so heavily retouched it looks like a drawing).
I do believe that the night picture of Titanic really is a photo - the errors that Dave Gittins suggest are liely from the hack-job retouching that the person did. Yes, the window configuration is wrong, way wrong, but I firmly believe it's the bunged-up paint job.
As Daniel K. says: As is with (amateur) night photos today and even more so in 1912 they didn't turn out too well, so they were given some work, and now they're unrecognisable and only look like drawings.
If you look at the stern end of the ship, the smokestacks and the land in the background, this, to me, does look more like a photo. A lot of the retouching work appears to have been done to the portholes, windows, open prom deck and especially the water, and the light configuration is not consistent with the actual Titanic.
Walter Lord also mentioned in ANTR that he believed the night picture was heavily retouched. I most striking examples I have seen of retouching are the photos of the British inquiry, particularly with Ismay on the stand.
They almost look like a court artists impressions.