REVIEW: Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, Victoria and Albert Museum

Filled with gorgeous detail and imaginatively laid out, this latest Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition leaves you longing for the era of ocean liners once more. 


The Victoria and Albert Museum have once again created an imaginatively designed exhibition that truly captures the glamour and sophistication that ocean liners provided over the last 100 years.

Taking all elements of what made ocean liners a popular way to travel from the 1900’s onwards, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style is an exhibition is filled with a treasure trove of all sorts of objects that effectively examines all the details which made ocean liners so special.

On entering the exhibition, visitors are confronted by a huge model of the Queen Elizabeth with numerous bold and colourful posters advertising various different cruise liners across the decades that grab the attention and immediately gives the exhibition focus. From there, as the visitor weaves their way through the ‘cruise liner’ itself (thanks to brilliantly creative design and layout), they are taken on a journey through all of the important elements that made cruise liners such a luxurious way in which to travel – such as developments in technology which lessened the uncomfortableness of being onboard when the ship hit rough seas as well as the number of different activities available on board for passengers to enjoy.

It could be argued that the almost randomness of certain objects on display might give the exhibition a untidy feel, with some objects just not gaining an awful lot of interest or having much relevance to the exhibition as a whole. But despite this, it is clear that many of the objects do have a major part to play in the story of the way in which ocean liners developed and became more luxurious as rival companies became more competitive to attract the attention of wealthy passengers – particularly in terms of design and comfort.


Although the Titanic is mentioned occasionally, this exhibition doesn’t place the ill fated ocean liner at the centre of the display, which may disappoint some but given the amount that could be said about it would take up an entire exhibition of its own – this was a wise move by the curators.  But it is still haunting that one of the final pieces on display in Ocean Liners: Speed and Style is the fragment of the overdoor from the Titanic which shows exactly where the ship broke in half  that tragic evening and still remains the largest remaining object discovered from the ship.

Overall, this is an exhibition that is as luxurious as the topic in which it covers: a sleek, sophisticated and elegant exhibition that celebrates the glory of ocean liners and leaves the visitor longing for the return of them. Well worth a visit.


Ocean Liners: Speed and Style will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum until the 17th June. To book tickets click here  or visit: Encore Tickets . 

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

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