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Carving from 19th century steam liner goes on show at maritime museum

08/11/12

A rare carved panel from the first-class dining saloon of the Aberdeen-built luxury steam liner Thermopylae has gone on show at Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow.

Thermopylae panel. Displayed for the very first time, this exquisite mahogany carving gives an indication of the opulence onboard the Aberdeen White Star Line ships which carried passengers and cargo between Britain and Australia at the end of the 19th century.

The panel was salvaged by a marine surveyor at the time the ship was wrecked in 1899.  It was bought earlier this year [2012] by Aberdeen Maritime Museum from an antiques dealer in Cape Cod, USA.

Meredith Greiling, curator of maritime history, at the museum said: "It is very unusual for an individual piece of carving from a ship's interior to survive and this is such a fine example.  It demonstrates the skill of the craftsmen of Aberdeen and the quality of the vessels being built in the city at that time; these were the ships that made Aberdeen famous around the world.  We are very lucky to have been able to bring this piece back from its world-wide adventures to its true home in Aberdeen."

The purchase was made possible by a grant from the National Fund for Acquisitions and the Aberdeen Maritime Museum Appeal Fund.

The panel will be on display until the end of February 2013.

The steamship Thermopylae, the successor to the famous clipper ship of the same name, was launched in Aberdeen by Hall Russell & Company Ltd in 1891.