Titanic's sister ship Olympic had the same Neptune heads seen here being given a facelift by an artisan in 1929. They were in the corners of the room, while the goddess caryatids flanked the outboard windows on the center alcoves.
RMS Titanic's sister ship Olympic's First-class Dining Saloon with foremost goddess pilaster on the right delineated.
Titanic's First-class Dining Room
The First-class Dining Saloon
The Dining Saloon, found on D Deck, was enormous. It was the largest room being the full width of the ship and 114 feet long. It could accommodate over 500 passengers. The Jacobean-inspired room had paneled walls and a strapwork ceiling. The walls were made distinctive by painting them white (unlike their wooden finish prototypes). Beautiful leaded-glass windows covered the portholes giving the room the appearance of an elegant, land-based restaurant. At evening meals, lighting behind the windows furthered this illusion and created a lovely atmosphere. Without a doubt, the most artistic decorative ornaments in the room were the neoclassical caryatid-like pilasters interspersing the windows. They were topped with beautiful goddess heads (likely Ceres), and in the corners a handsome Neptune. On the fluted block below the heads was centered a regal lion medallion. The lion held a swag drapery in his mouth which continued onto the pilaster portion. The pilaster was highly-ornamented with Arabesque/grotesque Renaissance motifs such as twin swans that mirrored each other around a central, fluted urn.
From the book TITANIC THE SHIP MAGNIFICENT this simple, one line description:
"The walls of the Saloon were enriched with scroll and-shell ornamentations in relief, with eight pilasters - each topped with a caryatid - between the outboard windows in the center alcoves".
The First-Class Dining Room on Titanic was identical to that of her sister ship Olympic. Much of the sister ships interiors were designed and fitted by the same teams of craftsmen and artisans, as the two ships were constructed at nearly the same time. The interiors of the ships were designed by Aldam, Heaton & Co., who had previously worked on other White Star Line vessels and had also carried out interior design on the homes of White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay and his family. Many of the ships' interiors were designed by the architect Arthur Henry Durand, who had studied architecture in Brussels in the early 1890s, and was involved with the design of the La Tour Eiffel in Paris. He worked for both the White Star Line and the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
Actually these photos were all taken of the Olympic's Dining Room since only one (poor quality) passenger photo from the Titanic's Dining Saloon is known to exist. It is believed that the Belfast ship builder, Harland and Wolff, saw no reason to photograph the Titanic's interiors since they had already gone through this expense for her virtual twin, the RMS Olympic.
"Food from the land and food from the sea"
If the female caryatid was intended to be Ceres, the Goddess of Agriculture, and the male, Neptune, God of the Sea, then this headline makes sense. In any case, every category of food was well-represented in the first-class Dining Saloon. Men dressed in white tie and tails, accompanied their ladies in gowns and their finest jewels, gathered in the First-class Reception Room until dinner was announced by the ship's bugler, P.W. Fletcher. He played "The Roast Beef of Old England." Dinner could last for hours with up to eleven courses with wine pairings served. Titanic carried thousands of glasses and pieces of china to accommodate the French-style dishes on a par with the finest restaurants of the day. The adjacent kitchen also serviced the Second-class Dining Room.
Plaster and surface decorators at work on the First-class Dining Saloon of the RMS Titanic's sister ship, Olympic, while it was docked in England in 1929. This composite photo shows both the Neptune (Poseidon) caryatids as well as the goddess caryatids.
We have strived to replicate the RMS Titanic's goddess head as closely as possible in 1:1 scale.
~ A TITANIC THANK YOU ~
Recreating Titanic's goddess head required some expert help. We were kindly assisted by these friends, and wish to thank them for their research and archival photographs :
• Larry Robinson, co-founder of the Canadian Titanic Society
• Rodrigo Piller of Brazil's: "Titanic em Foco"
• Stephan Asselin, Titanic collector and creator (Montreal)
•Ken Marschall, globally-recognized Titanic painter
Recreating the Titanic's Dining Room goddess head in 1:1 scale from RMS Olympic archival references.