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Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Stars of the silver screen all at sea

The sight of photographers crowding around a newly docked ocean liner was nothing new at the turn of the 20th Century. Disembarking celebrities could be photographed jostling for space alongside fellow passengers.However, the Cunard cruise line was the first to introduce on-board photographers in the 1920s. The ships' photographers would take snapshots of the passengers, creating prints in the darkroom that were then displayed on long tables the next morning. Travellers were able to put their orders in, and the photographs were then printed in Southampton and posted around the world. By 1936, when Cunard's flagship the Queen Mary was launched, the firm employed a fleet of photographers working all night to supply demand. With access to the archives, photographer Ian Wright has edited down a selection of images of famous faces who travelled across the oceans.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Mrs Rudolph Valentino on the Aquitania in early 1920s
Actor Rudolph Valentino and his costume designer wife Natacha Rambova were regular passengers on the trans-Atlantic routes, and were often seen on deck exercising their dogs and participating in on-board dog shows.
Rambova stands aboard the RMS Aquitania, a ship that was repurposed as a troop transport and hospital ship during both World Wars.After the first conflict, it was returned to passenger service in the 1920s when this image was taken.Another celebrity couple who crossed on the Aquitania were actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, seen here on their honeymoon.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Stars of the silver screen all at sea

War and Peace author Leo Tolstoy stands on board the RMS Lusitania. The ocean liner was later famously torpedoed by a German U-Boat at the beginning of World War One
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

As she arrives in America from France on 18 April 1925, actor Gloria Swanson smiles at photographers. However, she had been gravely ill in Paris during the preceding months, following an abortion that had gone badly.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Marlene Dietrich, the star of The Blue Angel, is captured leaning against the ship's railings by photographer Bill Probst
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

The gem of the Cunard line, the Queen Mary, is seen berthed in New York in 1938, two years after its maiden voyage.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Showbiz siblings Fred and Adele Astaire dance around on deck as they make their way to London in 1922.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Western star Tom Mix is accompanied by his wife Victoria Forde and child on board the Aquitania.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

A notorious performing chimpanzee in the Parisian music halls, Consul Peter makes his way to perform in New York.
Stars of the silver screen all at sea

Accompanied by his dog, US pianist and composer Ernest Shelling sits for a portrait taken around 1915.
All photographs courtesy George Grantham Bain Collection Library of Congress and Cunard Archives.
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