Ulster Museum evokes the age of great liners through the works of Kenneth Shoesmith

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 September 2012
a paintng of two ocean liners in a Mediterannean bay with sailors in a dinghy in the foreground
P & O Express Mail Steamer 'Strathmore', Kenneth Denton Shoesmith 1890 - 1939© National Museums Northern Ireland
Exhibition preview: Art of the Liner: The Work of Kenneth Shoesmith (1890-1939) at Ulster Museum until April 7 2013.

A respected member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and of the British Society of Poster Designers, Halifax-born Kenneth Shoesmith served on ships from the age of 16.

Traveling across the world during the Edwardian age of great liners he would paint the maritime scenes and landscapes around him. By 1918 his prodigious talent saw him secure a career as a full-time painter and in 1936, at the pinnacle of his career, he designed and painted the murals for the luxurious liner, Queen Mary.

But it was Shoesmith's work as a poster designer that brought his talent to a wider audience and in the 1920s and 1930s he provided a continuous flow of artwork encouraging people to travel by rail and by sea.

He died aged 48 in 1939 and left behind him a body of work that is today revered in equal measure by transport enthusiasts and connoisseurs of classic travel posters and maritime art.

On the death if his widow in 1971 the contents of his studio were bequeathed to Ulster Museum and this fascinating exhibition draws from the collection to provide both a fitting overview of Shoesmith's output and an evocative depiction of the golden age of the liners. 

As well as some great examples of maritime art the curators at Ulster Museum have sourced detailed records of the ships themselves, capturing the flavour of the times and exotic worlds these great ships traveled to.

More pictures:

a painting of a colourful steamship with large flags flying as it steams past a ship in dock
Passing Harland & Wolff's, Approaching Donegall Quay (Royal Yacht 'Victoria & Albert' taking George V and Queen Mary to the Opening of the Stormont Parliament) Kenneth Denton Shoesmith 1890 - 1939© National Museums Northern Ireland
a painting of an old-fashioned sailing frigate in a harbour flanked by a steam liner and steel battleship
The 'Conway', Liverpool and the Mauretania Kenneth Denton Shoesmith 1890 - 1939© National Museums Northern Ireland
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