Real life has rather got in the way of blogging for the last week, so apologies for that. It’s also meant disorder here at Crownfolio Towers. Yesterday, an unopened envelope turned up underneath a pile of newspapers. It turned out to contain this.
We bought it on eBay for no better reason than it looked rather fun, but it turned out to be by Dorrit Dekk; her signature’s on the reverse.
It’s another P&O menu, this time for the Mad Hatter’s Ball Dinner on the SS Arcadia in 1962. The chef recommends Jellied Turtle Soup.
I, meanwhile, recommend the P&O archive. This is something that I’ve been meaning to mention for a bit, after it suddenly appeared in amongst a Google search a few weeks ago. There are posters, brochures, luggage labels and much more.
The online selection is by no means comprehensive – there are, for example, only about 6 menu cards on show, which is about as many as we’ve got ourselves. But it’s still much better than nothing at all.
And there are some truly wonderful posters in there as well. But I’ll come back to those in the next couple of weeks, because they really do deserve their own post.
The website also has a rather useful guide to where you can see pieces from the P&O collection in museums. I can heartily recommend a trip to the River and Rowing Museum in Henley, which houses John Piper’s Landscape of the Two Seasons, designed for the Oriana in 1960.
The painting is much more spectacular in real life, not least because it’s monumentally large. But it’s a very rare reminder of the almost industrial quantities of design and and art which were produced for P&O’s liners in the late 1950s and 1960s – other than that, it really is just the menus which remind us of the style in which it was once possible to sail.
One of the many, many things I have to do this week is book a trip on Brittany Ferries; I don’t think the experience will bear much comparison with the golden days of P&O.