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Cunard Line China Patterns

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     Cunard-WhiteStarLine.net is proud to be the first place on the internet which lists or references nearly every pattern of Cunard china used onboard the great Cunarders from the 1860s all the way up to the newest pattern debuting on the Queen Victoria in December of 2007. These patterns and descriptions were researched over the years and pulled together in a single collection like no other. Because of the vast amount of speculation scattered about, all aspects were covered as best as could be in the creating of this list. It is realized certain information may go against some other historian's theories, which is why some of the questionable uses follows the views of the majority. *Please Note: The Cunard 'cube' china is briefly referenced with the Foley & Maddock china. No photos are provided but photos of each set may be accessed at www.transatlanticstyle.com via 'Verandah Grill'.

1850s-1870s?
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Green Weave Pattern

1860s & 70s
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Basketweave

#1: The Green Weave pattern is probably the oldest on record for Cunard. Backstamped "British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packets, Crystal Florantine China, SamlAlocok & Co." Exact dates are unknown, very few pieces have been seen of this pattern. While this pattern has a floral center, another piece has the green version of the logo for the next bowl. #2: This 'Basketweave' pattern is so old, it is not even listed as Cunard Line, but rather the British North American Royal Mail Comp(any). These ironstone pieces were used onboard the very early Cunarders of the 1860s and 70s. The makers mark utilizes the same general logo on the backside with the company name in place of the lion and written below is: Bodley & Comp Burslem. There is another variation of the makers mark with a free-flowing ribbon in a tree shape with the words inbetween each line, which is believed to date to the 1860s, while this piece is 1870s. Aside from the soup bowls, an octagonal rectangle dish also comes in thie pattern with the same mark in the center.

1880s & 90s
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Red Logo

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Oregon Plate

Here we have the first china pattern with Cunard's name on it using the old British & North American logo. This china was used during the 1880s and 90s and is most famously found on the wreck of the S.S. Oregon from 1886. The Life-Saving Station Museum in Ocean City, Maryland had an intact dinner plate in this pattern from her wreck. (See photo right). The saucer also sports a red rim which is reminiscent of the Andrea Doria's officer's china. Not an exciting piece, but has a good monetary value behind it if you can find one. Photo #1 courtesy of Seahunter.org/OregonGallery.html.

Early 1900s
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Black Logo

Cunard then used two main patterns during the turn of the century. This is the simpler of the two: a delicate white china with black rampant lion logo from the early 1900s. As far as it is known, this pattern was used in the 3rd class of earlier liners, and then used onboard the Lusitania and Mauretania in the Verandah Palm Courts. The latest this piece has been used was onboard the Queen Mary before the war. Once Cunard merged with White Star, it was still used but without a logo on the front and marked CWSL on the backside. Backmarked Mintons, Est 1793, England.

1900s -1910s
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Ormond

1890s - 1900s
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Blue Belt Logo

This is Cunard's beautiful Ormond pattern china, which was used in the first class dining rooms of liners during the 1900s and early 1910s. There are three variations of this pattern, one where parts of the pattern extend into the bowl and where the pattern stays within the rim. The third has a similar pattern, but includes pairs of thin blue lines running from the interior to the exterior of the bowl. The crest inside is the blue belt logo. (European auction photo). It is said that one version was specifically used for the Lucy & Maury, while the other was used on liners like the Campania  and Lucania - but it is not known which. For onboard the Lusitania and Mauretania, this pattern was used in the second class because of the introduction of a new first class china. Whether this pattern was used for second class on the earlier liners is not known. Backmarked Rd No 121313, Mintons, England. Photo courtesy of Ray Perks @ Titanic Momentos.

c1907
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Ribbon Floral Pastel

This is the first variation of Cunard's Floral Pastel or Lusitania pattern, created for the launch of the Lusitania and Mauretania in 1907. This china sports a ribbon pattern by Mintons. This pattern was not in use for a very long judging by the amount of pieces in circulation or collections. It is speculated to have been in use for possibly a year or two before replaced with the more modern version.

c1907/08 - 1914
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Floral Pastel - Lusitania

Here is the second variation of the Floral Pastel pattern which is more commonly found in collections. While it is not known when these pieces were put into production (speculated 1907/08), they were used only up until around 1914. This pattern is more clean-cut and is stunning with its pastel colors and gold rim, backmarked Mintons, England. These were used onboard the Lusitania and Mauretania's first class areas and other items can be viewed under the RMS Mauretania 1st Class China page. One of the most beautiful patterns made and harder to find than WSL china! This pattern was also used on souvenir dishes with paintings of these liners in the center, marked 'Souvenir' on the bottom. If it does not have souvenir, then it was a piece from the regular onboard service.

1913 - 1920s
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Spiderweb

This is one of the more obscure patterns used by Cunard - the spiderweb china. This pattern was introduced in 1914 and replaced the Floral Pastel china onboard the Lucy and Maury while making its debut onboard Cunard's new RMS Aquitania. This pattern has been recovered from the wreck of the Lusitania when she sank in 1915. Our oval dish is dated 1913, and the dinner plate is missing the last of the 3-piece code for the year. There is another letter placed opposite the logo, which if infact is the missing letter, would date the plate to 1913 as well. There are two variations, one pattern in black & white, while the other has a red overlay between the pattern. Backmarked: Wedgwood, Etruria, England. Examples of this pattern can be seen in book "RMS Lusitania: The Ship & Her Records."

1920s - 30s
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Birds of Paradise

1920s - 30s
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Currants

This is Cunard's Tuscan china sporting the Birds of Paradise pattern as used onboard the RMS Aquitania. While several books have photos of this china from the ship, I have not seen it in use on any other liner. Made in the 1920s and likely 30s, Cunard had so many people stealing this from the dining rooms that they made souvenir china in this pattern to sell onboard. Both pieces in this exhibit are souvenir. Each piece has a main bird on the china and an oriental look throughout - similar to the Vignette Chinese or Chinois china of the Italia Line. Cunard also has a rare china pattern called 'Currants', which sports near identical flowers in the center and surrounding with a bird in the center. This pattern can be easily spotted by it's back mark which is made by Copeland's Spode. The "Currants" pattern has a very long history with Spode.  The pattern first appears in Spode records as pattern #3858 around the year 1825. The pattern became known as both "Mulberry" and "Currants", and had quite a few variations in both shape and color over the years.  Most recently, the pattern was released by Spode as "Mulberry" from 1977 - 1985. It was used in first class and is harder to find than the Birds of Paradise. This plate is dated July 1924. It is also marked with the Copeland Spode pattern number, R4535.  Note that this is Copeland's own pattern number, not the "Rd" or registration number. Photo and description of Currants pattern by Jason Schleisman.

1920s - 30s
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Rose

This is an example of the Rose pattern china also used onboard liners like the Aquitania during the 1920s and 30s. There isn't much information about where this and the Birds of Paradise pattern was used during its service, but one can speculate that the above pattern was for first class and the rose pattern was for the second class passengers. The Birds of Paradise has an entire dinner setting and I have not seen dinnerware in this pattern to date, just a few pieces in the form of creamers, sugar bowls, or teapots. As far as is known, none of the Rose pattern china was made to be souvenir china - just onboard service.

1920s - 30s
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Gold Greek Key

This pattern by Booths Ltd doesn't have any specific pattern name, but is listed as Gold Greek Key because of similarities to the regular Greek Key pattern. This pattern is on pre-war china and was used onboard liners like the Carinthia. Very little is known about which class this was used in or if any other china complemented the set. Of the pieces in this pattern, only soup bowls and tea cups & saucers have been seen to date. The rim is solid gold except where there are four breaks with gold flowers and black vines are intertwined throughout. On the teacup saucer, there is just a gold band around the outer edge with the main pattern around the tea cup rim. Backmark has the standard Cunard Steamship Belt Logo with Booths Ltd, Silicon China, England, Patent No. 14095. There are also a few pieces of a color version of this pattern in which the flowers are pink and yellow with a light blue band replacing the gold.

1920s - 60s
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Greek Key

This Greek Key china comes in two variations - four or five sets of breaks in the black on white pattern. According to Brian Hawley, in the 1920s, the patterns with the 4-break gold band on the rim were used in the first class areas of the Mauretania, Aquitania, and Berengaria. After 1936, the same pattern with the 5-break without the gold rim was used onboard the Queens in their Tourist Class up until the 1960s. To coincide with that though, the example in our collection is a 5-break plate with a gold band on the rim and is backdated 1949. The Cunard Steamship Company Limited logo on the backside is in a plain circle with Rigway Potteries Limited, England.

1930s
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Nursery Rhyme

Here is another rare item from the tables of Cunard Line. This Nursery Rhyme or Miss Muffet pattern china was made specifically for the Children's Room onboard the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in the 1930s. Later in the 1960s, Cunard brought about another set of what looks like childrens china with various paintings on the front with a yellow background. I also understand that this china may have been part of a regular service set. I do not have a photo of the later china listed here, but it came in a few different shapes and sizes. It was said to have been used onboard liners like the Carmania and Franconia. Photo courtesy of CabinClass.com. (Pattern Archive, Steamship China Patterns, Cunard.)

1936 - c1950s
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Royalty

This is an example of the rarest china pattern used by Cunard in recent times... a piece of Cunard WhiteStar's gold "Royalty" china. This pattern was specifically designed to be used onboard the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in their few private suites starting in 1936. It became known as "royalty" china since VIP passengers, which often turned out to be royal family members, were the only ones to use it. Because it was never used outside these suites, very few pieces were produced, and even fewer surface on the market. It was discontinued after brief use due to its cost to produce. There is a photo on the CunardWhiteStar page of this china in use on the Queen Mary from Anne Anderson's book 'The Teapot Cube.' Backmarked 'Tuscan China Metallised, CunardWhiteStar, Stoniers, Liverpool, 4493A.'

1930s - 60s
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Foley / Grosvenor

Early on, Cunard used Copeland's Grosvenor pattern china onboard the Queens, then switched to the Foley pattern seen here. Both patterns were the same, but under different names. Also called "Ivory Ware", it was used onboard the Queens and the Caronia up until around 1968. This pattern consists of a cream base color with a black line on the rim, two orange lines close together and a light grey line at the bottom of the piece. Dinnerware was of typical style and the tea sets were done in a cube style. The tourist class onboard the liners used the same shapes of dinnerware, but were all white in color and were manufactured by J. Sadler & Sons Ltd. Also not pictured are the Foley seashell china pieces used to hold nuts, butter, or lemon wedges. These were of plain white fan-shell design with gold rims and two small gold design on the handle. Photo courtesy of CabinClass.com (Pattern Archive, Steamship China Patterns, Cunard.)

1930s - 60s
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Maddock

Here are some examples of Maddox china, which was used by Cunard to go along with its Foley line of china onboard the Queens and other ships. The two patterns only differ in that the Maddox china is based on tan china rather than cream, and the two orange lines on Maddox china are spaced further apart. These pieces were used in first and cabin class areas onboard. For souvenir china, George Clewes manufactured the same basic teapot sets in all brown or faded brown with souvenir marked on the backside - No Photo. Of all the Cunard Line china, this is the easiest to obtain and is relatively inexpensive. Photo courtesy of CabinClass.com. (Pattern Archive, Steamship China Patterns, Cunard.)

1968 - 70s
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Snowflake

This is Cunard's Snowflake pattern created for the 1970s onboard service of the Queen Elizabeth 2. Done in a metallic gold against white, this was made by Ridgway and it believed to have been exclusive to the Queen Elizabeth 2. Although it has been created specifically for the newly-launched liner, it is not clear whether it was used on any others. Aside from the normal service china, 5 inch casserole dishes were also made in this pattern. Backmarked: Ridgway Steelite, Vitreous China Hotel Ware, England, Regd. Trademark 738990, Cunard.

1970s - 2008
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Gold Band & Logo

This is the modern Cunard china pattern with a simple gold line and the Cunard lion & crown with fern leaves on one side of the plate. This pattern is commonly used on Cunarders - namely the Queen Elizabeth 2. The pattern was introduced for onboard service in the 1970s. These pieces are coming more into demand due to the retiring of the QE2 in 2008. Courtesy: 2007 Cunard Line Brochure. Used with permission of the Cunard Line Limited.
 
 
 
 

1990s - Retirement
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Lido Deck China

This photo is of a bowl from the Queen Elizabeth 2 and it is the last pattern officially used in the QE2's Lido Restaurant. The bowl was made by Porsgrund in Norway. It disembarked the ship with a man who discovered that the bowl had somehow managed to fall into his suitcase during the QE2's Last Transatlantic Crossing. Photo and description by Jason Schleisman.
 
 
 
 
 

2004 - Present
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Queen Mary 2

When the Queen Mary 2 was launched in 2004, Wedgwood produced a beautiful pattern exclusively for the new liner. While this pattern has no given name, it consists of fine white bone china and deeper green band around the rim. Within the green band is an interlocking chain pattern alternating between the deep green and delicate gold links. A beautiful pattern which no one has apparently managed to smuggle off the ship yet. I hope in a few years time, CWSL will be able to add the current Cunard china production to our collection. Courtesy: 2007 Cunard Line Brochure. Used with permission from the Cunard Line Limited.

2004 - Present
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Todd English

This pattern of china is used onboard the Queen Mary 2 in the Todd English Restaurant, which serves Mediterranean specialities while overlooking the Pool Terrace. This china is reminiscent of the Queen Elizabeth 2's snowflake china as it is white square dinner plates with gold dots around the borders. The side plates used with these pieces are of plain white design. Courtesy: 2008 Cunard Line Brochure. Used with permission of the Cunard Line Limited.

December 2007
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This is the beautiful new china pattern which is used onboard the newest ocean liner of the Cunard fleet - the Queen Victoria. Harkening back to an age of beautiful and rich patterns, it will most likely be used in the Queens Grill... an exclusive class onboard this amazing ship. Sometime we hope to gain an example of each of these beautiful new patterns. Courtesy: 2008 Cunard Line Brochure. Used with permission of the Cunard Line Limited.