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What Does It Mean?

Re-making Honour & Glory: Its History and Meaning by Alan St. George

The most famous ship in the world has given us one of the most famous clocks in the world. Yet aside from the fact that “Honour and Glory Crowning Time” dominated the wall of the quarter-sawn, English oak landing on the forward, First-class Grand Staircase of the RMS Titanic, and her sister ship, Olympic, how much do we know? Certainly, it cannot be denied that James Cameron’s epic film TITANIC has made the clock even more famous. In the film, the beautiful clock became, not only an iconic symbol of the vessel, but a deeply romantic symbol at that. Third-class passenger, Jack Dawson, played by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, secretly passed that famous handwritten note to First-class passenger Rose DeWitt Bukater, played by Kate Winslet, with the inscribed words: “Make it count. Meet me at the clock." The staircase and the clock, representation of Edwardian upper class civility, achievement, and entitlement, became the meeting place for an act of societal and parental rebellion. This dramatic dynamic, combined with youth, beauty, true love, and the doomed ship, provided explosive romance never-to-be-forgotten. As a sculptor, it has been my joy to reconstruct “Honour & Glory” for the third time now. As a result, I have submersed myself into the historical origins of this masterwork, and the meaning of its symbology, which I am delighted to share. According to the book, TITANIC VOICES: MEMORIES FROM THE FATEFUL VOYAGE:

"Charles Wilson, who carved the central portion of the “Honour and Glory Crowning Time,” remembered that when the Titanic finally set sail from Belfast there had not been time to set a clock into the ornate carved panel over her First-Class Staircase, and a mirror had to be substituted until the clock arrived." Titanic arrived from Belfast in Southampton at midnight, April 3. Therefore the timepiece must have been installed sometime during the week before her maiden voyage on April 10th, 1912.

To discover “Honour & Glory’s” origins, we must travel further back in time to 1800, and the Palace of the Tuileries in Paris. Here in the “Louis XIV Salon,” one could see the beautiful clock by sculptor Auguste-Marie Taunay.

Comparing Taunay’s circa 1800 work to Charles Wilson’s circa 1910 woodcarving, we can clearly see where the woodcarver has taken his inspiration, even in the architectural surround.

The 1853 painting by Jean Baptiste Ange Tissier, entitled “Louis Visconti Presenting the New Plans for the Louvre to Napoleon III,” gives us another view of Taunay’s sculptural cl