Titanic reverse Glass paintings were they mass produced


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Jan 7, 2002
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Anyone here know how commonplace were the 1912 Titanic reverse glass paintings? I once thought each was hand made, but have since noticed duplicates of the same image, popping up on Ebay.

To date Ive seen about 5 different Titanic reverse glass painting images,1 Empress Of Irleand disaster image, 1 Lusitania and 1 Britannic image. Were the Titanic reverse glass paintings mass produced, and fairly common? Which image is the rarest?


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Steve Santini

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Hi Tarn,
The majority of "reverse glass" paintings were not mass produced and were instead individual interperative types of folk art done in the immediate wake of the sinking. There are A LOT of these out there! However, there is some good evidence to suggest that there were some pre sinking images of both Olympic and Titanic which were reverse painted on glass and offered for sale in both of the ships' barber shops. These types of paintings would have been produced in some numbers for hopeful sale to passengers. Unlike the memorial folk art types, the pre sinking souvenir paintings tend to generally be better done and usually feature a more accurate and well proportioned image of the vessel pictured. Hope this helps to answer your question. Regards, Steve Santini. P.S. The pre sinking Titanic images are by far the rarest as they were ordered by WSL and intended for sale on the ships of the line in Titanic's day.
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Hi Steve

Many thanks for the information. You are a wealth of Titanic information! Have any Olympic reverse paintings survived? Ill have to take a peek of the photo of Olympic's barbershop/souvenier shop in one of my books- mabey there were paintings for sale in the room...

I must wonder- Ive seen a Britannic reverse painting(in hospital ship colors)- Do you suppose that was sold on Britannic, or rather somthing put together by a landlubber artist?

Thanks very much!

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Hi Tarn,
Yes, I have seen, and once owned, Olympic reverse glass paintings. In fact I once had a rare Titanic pre sinking one but Gary now has it. As for the Britannic one you mention, if it was as a hospital ship, then I greatly doubt it was ever sold on board. It is more likely that someone made it after seeing her in her role as hospital ship. I.E., A "landlubber" folk artist! Thanks for the kind words Tarn. Regards, Steve Santini
 
Aug 29, 2000
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This one was copied from Wreck of the Titanic sheet music and seems to be a popular interpretation.. Paid 75.00 10 years ago- I think now it may be worth 120-150 range.
 
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Russ Wilson

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Pre-sinking image with caption "White Star Liner TITANIC , xxxxxt steamer in the World."
 

Hilary Popple

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May 28, 2003
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I just found this rather old post and was interested as I own one of these reverse glass paintings of the Titanic (post sinking). It belonged to my great-grandmother, who was given it after she lost her husband in the disaster and I gather she was understandably not too delighted with it! Does anyone know of any being sold recently? Just wondered if it was worth anything.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Occasionally you can find reverse paintings on Ebay. Sometimes they sell at reasonable prices and sometimes they sell for outrageous prices. Sometimes the seller just puts more value on it than it's truly worth. Your best bet is to ask a few antiques dealers what a reverse painting is generally valued at. Having Titanic as the subject does not (in my honest opinion) increase the value of the reverse painting.

Reverse painting is a dying art. My elderly aunt used to do it. She's well into her 80's now, so you can imagine the popularity of this artform was probably during the late Victorian/Edwardian period. I'm not familiar with any reverse painting from prior to those years but I'm no expert.

Kyrila
 

Ray Perks

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Aug 21, 2004
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Hi,
this one is mine - presinking but less it's backing. I've seen the same style used for the Britannic and the Olympic - these were for sale at the time at approximately $250 in the UK.
Cheers
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Hilary Popple

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Thanks for the replies. Mine is a very similar picture to that except it says, "Struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage and sunk Monday morning April 15th 1912". The decks and lights are in mother of pearl. I think it's quite hideous actually! I've seen similar ones in the Black Country Museum, of various ships.
 
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Reverse painting on glass has been around for a long time, but mostly popular and ubiquitous in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My mother collected the black on clear glass silhouettes , usally a colonial scene, or sometimes scenes from the French Court. In the 1950’s these were hugely popular and often had concave glass fronts. Once in a while I still see a mirror or clock case in an antique store with the reverse painting on a panel above the clock face. Hall mirrors are another popular object for reverse painting inserts. The French call it eglomise and probably stole the idea from the Chinese who pretty much thought of everything first anyway. Eglomise began as gold leaf on glass, but eventually all types carried the name. Victorians apparently had plenty of time to make hair wreaths, wax flowers, embroidered mottos, painted china, and all manner of pastimes so reverse painting was a natural and often the covers of sheet music provided the inspiration and patterns for the zillions of painted flowers, trees, nature scenes and important events and architectural wonders of the day. Surprisingly the artform has made a comeback, using acrylics instead of oil, and it is no easy matter to think backwards. The Titanic scene I have I paid $75 for about 12 years ago, it would sell now for 150-200. A lot depends on condition. Sometimes bits of metallic foil or mica chips were added for sparkle. I also noted earlier that the Titanic is sinking by the stern, and the scene is a dead ringer for the sheet music “The Wreck of the Titanic”- which was probably the pattern and inspiration. Sure would be nice to have that kind of time to spare these days!
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Morning Hilary,

Surely not the Black Country Museum in good old Dudley? I'm about 3 miles from there and I must confess I've only ever been once, back in the 80's. Maybe it would be worth another visit to see these other ship paintings you mention.

I've got a Britannic reverse glass painting, in fairly good nick and obviously post-sinking as it has some text mentioning her demise. The painting needs to be hung "diamond-shaped" (for want of a better expression) to see the Britannic profile properly. Does anyone have any ideas of value, if any?

Cheers,

Boz
 
Apr 27, 2003
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Hiliary - Actually there is a man in Southampton, UK who is doing these reverse paintings at the moment (special commissions) - they are even better because he also specialises in doing them in miniature.
His name is Ron Williams a relative of Samuel Williams who perished on the Titanic.
Just thought you would like to know - Cheers Brian
 
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