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Our Designer Nichola recently visited the Speed & Style exhibition at the V&A – a fascinating exploration of the feats of engineering, high design and intrinsic glamour of transatlantic travel in its heyday.

The exhibition showcases some of the spectacular interiors created with no expense spared for the design-conscious, first class passengers on board, their sophistication and opulence worlds away from today’s cruise ships.

These interiors were beautifully decorated in the style of their period, most prominently Art Nouveau and Art Deco, employing highest quality materials and craftsmanship.

Accommodation on the First Class decks included ornate wood panelling, hand painted murals and superb bespoke textiles and carpets such as this 100% wool rug and section of carpet created for the Queen Mary by Glasgow company James Templeton and Company for the Stateroom and Drawing Room.  These carpets were created in-house and made to the highest specification.

Bespoke Textiles.

Children’s chair from the first-class playroom on French ship the Normandie.

Opulent doors and panelling (circa1912) from the France, the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique’s largest ship.