Cunard & David Linley Honor Queen Elizabeth with Marquetry Artwork

Arthur Dodge May 21, 2010

Linley’s Marquetry Artwork Commission

David Linley

Both David Linley and the marquetry traditions of Cunard’s Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth ocean liners are on my blog post topics to-do list. I’m traveling with my family, thus short on time – here’s the news, starting with the intro from Cunard’s press release and ending with a passage from Sue Bryant’s piece for Cruise Critic:20 May 2010 – Yesterday, in Chelsea near London, Cunard Line unveiled the stunning centerpiece for the Grand Lobby of the Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, debuting this fall. The artwork was specially commissioned to David Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and the internationally famous photographer Lord Snowdon – and Her Majesty The Queen’s only nephew – whose company specializes in the design and creation of fine furniture and marquetry. Linley’s magnificent work shows the port bow of the original Queen Elizabeth seen dramatically from sea level, and is intricately executed using the technique of marquetry inlay with nine individual panels made of various types of wood veneers seamlessly jointed to lightweight board.

Cunard’s Wow Factor

Queen Elizabeth Art (May 20, 2010, 5 p.m. EDT) — A fittingly royal touch for Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth was unveiled last night.

David Linley with

The backdrop to the sweeping staircase descending into the 90,400-ton ship’s magnificent Grand Lobby, the first area passengers see on boarding, is going to be an intricate marquetry panel, two and a half decks high, depicting the original Queen Elizabeth — and designed by master wood craftsman David Linley.
Viscount Linley, whose clients include Oprah Winfrey and perfume magnate Jo Malone, trained in cabinet-making under John Makepeace and founded his design company, Linley, in 1985. He has gone on to become a huge international success, creating exquisite inlaid wooden furniture that comes with a hefty price tag; at the big reveal of the panel last night in Linley’s spacious Belgravia showroom, journalists and Cunard executives awkwardly circled a £16,500 table, not quite knowing where to put their drinks down.
So what’s the thinking behind the panel? Peter Shanks, president and managing director of Cunard, told the gathering last night: “We needed to fill that space with something which would not just be dramatic, a “wow” factor in an area already full of “wow,” but which would also reflect our emphasis on traditional and sumptuous materials.”

Art Deco panel in marquetry

The panel will be made of nine wooden veneers, including Indian ebony, American walnut, bird’s eye maple and grey ripple sycamore. The finished product will be shipped to the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy, where Queen Elizabeth is under construction, and assembled over a period of four days.

LINLEY’s Chairman, David Linley, who founded the company in 1985, commented:

“I recall my father saying the interior design of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 made one proud to be British, so I am hoping our achievement on the new Queen Elizabeth will make him — and others — equally proud.”

David Linley

As a result, LINLEY, a company specializing in the design and manufacture of fine furniture and marquetry was commissioned to design and make this stunning centrepiece at the heart of the ship. Work is currently under way, and the completed panel will be shipped during the summer to the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy, where it will be installed over a period of four days to take pride of place just before the ship enters service in October.

Artist’s rendering of the Grand Lobby
Rendering of Queen Elizabeth panel

The magnificent artwork shows the port bow of the original Queen Elizabeth seen dramatically from sea level, and is intricately executed using the technique of marquetry inlay in nine different types of wood veneers. Spanning 2 1/2 decks, the panel is made up of nine panels seamlessly jointed to lightweight board. The marquetry panel features Madrona, Indian Ebony, American Walnut, grey ripple Sycamore, burr Ash, bird’s eye Maple, satin Walnut , Ash, burr Walnut and Macassar Ebony – all used to depict the evocative image of the Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth will be the second largest Cunarder ever built and will join her sisters, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as part of the youngest fleet in the world. The first Queen Elizabeth was one of Cunard’s greatest ships, and the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist.