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22 October 2016, 13:00 BST
Devizes, United Kingdom
Lot 237: R.M.S. TITANIC - EXTREMELY RARE TITANIC MENU COVER: An original m
Estimate: £8,000 - £12,000
Description: R.M.S. TITANIC - EXTREMELY RARE TITANIC MENU COVER: An original menu cover, designed for use in Titanic's à la carte restaurant to hold menus, which were slightly smaller in size. These covers were intended to be bi-folds and were known to employ three different designs, each exhibiting a different image sketched by White Star Line artist Montague Birrel Black and bearing the heading R.M.S. Titanic and below that, Restaurant. The three designs included images of pyramids surrounded by palm trees with people conversing on the banks of a lake; and a gondola along the Grand Canal, Venice. This third design features an image of the White Star Line training ship Mersey. We are aware of two such examples of menu cards with the latter design in existence. Both of these are folded and one of which is in a museum collection. However we believe this to be the only example of this illustration. This example, showing the Grand Canal in Venice, is unused and has not been folded into the intended bi-fold format. It is in off-the-press condition with no markings, folds or tears. The menu cover originates from the collection of the son of J. Archie Hughes, Edward Hunter's business partner who, together with Hughes, opened a printing shop in 1898 which at one time was located on Farringdon Road, London. Hughes was one of the printers used by the White Star Line. The company experienced a series of acquisitions and mergers and eventually ceased operations in 1971 while trading as C. & E. Layton Ltd. Titanic's à la carte restaurant, known as The Restaurant, was located on B Deck and added an additional layer of elegance beyond what Titanic already richly offered. The finest meals were offered there and, as the name implies, they were served à la carte style, in addition to the fares of passage. The room was designed in the style of Louis XIV and provided a feeling of spaciousness. Titanic's orchestra, performing as a trio, played from a raised platform. The wealthiest passengers ate in this salon. Lady Duff-Gordon commented with delight on how she was able to get strawberries in April in the middle of the Atlantic in the à la carte restaurant. The existence and discovery of this cover offers a piece of memorabilia destined for one of the grandest and most opulent parts of the ship, Titanic's à la carte restaurant. This extremely rare and historically important piece is unused, unfolded and originates from the family of the printer. Due to Titanic's demise it never actually reached the ship. Some foxing present. The sister piece to this lot was sold by Henry Aldridge and Son in their April 2016 auction. Provenance: By descent.