Tayside and Central Scotland

Scottish engineering 'right at the heart' of V&A Dundee exhibition

Philip Long / The Riveters Image copyright Michael McGurk
Image caption V&A Dundee director Philip Long inspects Stanley Spencer's 1941 painting Riveters

Scottish design and engineering will be "right at the heart" of the first exhibition at Dundee's V&A Museum.

Ocean Liners - Speed and Style explores the golden age of ocean travel, both above and below deck.

The exhibition's 250 items include Stanley Spencer's 1941 painting Riveters from his series Shipbuilding on the Clyde.

The series was commissioned by the British government to record industries involved in World War Two.

The exhibition opens at V&A Dundee on 15 September.

It was first shown in the US last year and runs at the V&A in London until June.

The V&A Dundee team attended a preview of the exhibition at V&A South Kensington on Wednesday.

Ocean Liners Image copyright Michael McGurk
Image caption The show examines all aspects of life on board the ocean liners

Exhibition co-curator Ghislaine Wood said she "couldn't be more thrilled" that Ocean Liners would be V&A Dundee's inaugural show.

She said: "It actually grew out of working on V&A Dundee.

"I was the lead curator for the Scottish Design Galleries and I was working on the design history stories of Scotland in particular on the Clyde.

"So, although I'd been coming across ocean liner material in the V&A's collections since 2003, this project really crystallised while working on the V&A Dundee project .

"The role Scotland plays in the shipbuilding industry and the design element of the ocean liner couldn't be more important."

Titanic panel
Image caption A panel from the Titanic is one of the exhibition's highlights

The show also features a model of a tandem engine made for William Denny Brothers of Dumbarton as an exhibit at the Glasgow International Exhbibition of 1888.

The full-size engines were used on ocean liners from the 1880s until about 1900, when they were superseded by steam turbines.

Ms Wood said: "The thing about the ocean liner is, you couldn't pick an object that better illustrates the shaping of the modern world.

"Liners serviced Empire, they were important military assets, but they also did become one of the great aspirational leisure activities of the 20th Century."

Ocean Liners Image copyright Michael McGurk
Image caption The show features clothing worn by those sailing on the liners

V&A Dundee director of exhibitions Sophie McKinlay said the show's strong Scottish element shines through in the exhibition.

She said: "I think that's what makes it such an appropriate first show for V&A Dundee.

"Scottish design and engineering is right at the heart of the show.

"It's a show which covers all sorts of design disciplines, such as fashion, textiles, engineering and architecture.

"Some of the objects are immense, so the sense of scale just walking through these grand state rooms is conjured up rather wonderfully in this exhibition."

Ocean Liners

The exhibition explores all aspects of the design of ocean liners, including architecture, engineering, interiors, and fashion.

Objects include a wooden panel fragment from the first-class lounge of the Titanic, the first time it has been displayed in Europe.

The largest object in the exhibition is an interior panel from the French liner Normandie, which was described as "the pinnacle of the French Art Deco style".

Ms McKinlay said there was a "mounting sense of anticipation and excitement" ahead of V&A Dundee's opening date in September.

She said: "It will be an interesting transition to bring the show to Dundee and it will have many of the same objects and that same sense of scale and excitement.

"We've got a huge job to do in terms of delivering a series of exhibitions and displays for the new building.

"It's just a wonderful experience day to day to see the building change and to start putting objects in it."

Ocean Liners

V&A Dundee director Philip Long said: "It was always our ambition to bring this exhibition to Dundee.

"Many of these objects have not been seen in Europe since the ships were launched.

"It is a fantastic opportunity to find out about some of the greatest design of the 20th century."

Image caption The exhibition's largest object is an interior panel from the French liner Normandie

All images are copyrighted.

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