Fit for a Queen

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Celebratory painting for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubliee

Campania at the Spithead Review, 1897 by P. Greenwood. Copyright National Museums Liverpool

We're all very excited about the forthcoming visit by Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. To mark this momentous occasion, one of the museum’s fantastic paintings will be displayed as a centrepiece for the visit, alongside some objects from the Ismay silver collection which is currently on display in the Titanic and Liverpool exhibition.

Campania at the Spithead Review, 1897’ by Parker Greenwood depicts one of the greatest naval occasions, ‘The Review of the Fleet’ for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on 26 May 1897. Famous merchant vessels attended and accommodated guests celebrating this exciting occasion.

Campania was the most impressive of the Cunard fleet at the time and was ordered in 1891 along with sister ship Lucania as a response to the competition in the ever competitive transatlantic service business. The artist has painted Campania in the centre foreground, flying a blue ensign flag which indicates the Captain and crew are members of the Royal Naval Reserve.

When looking close up at the painting it is clear to see it’s a celebratory occasion and the artist has captured this perfectly. Patriotic blue, white and red bunting flies happily in the breeze, Union Jack flags adorn the other vessels in the background. The event is well attended with crowds of people cheering and you can almost hear the clinking of glasses. As Curator of Maritime Collections (ship models and paintings) I shouldn’t really admit to favourite objects but this painting is especially enjoyable.

Liverpool has an impressive maritime painting history which is represented in the museum’s collection, more of which can be viewed in the Art and Sea gallery.