There is nothing quite so satisfying in my job then when I make an interesting discovery regarding objects in our collection. A couple of weeks ago I was researching some of the North German Lloyd ships, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kronprinz Wilhelm, when I came across a picture of the First Class Dining Room for Kronprinzessin Cecilie. Now, I had seen this picture before (shown below), but hadn’t really taken a good look at it.
This time I noticed that the decorative piece in the center looked familiar so I zoomed in and sure enough, it is a piece in our collection! The four cherubs around it (only three are visible in this picture) are also in our collection.
This piece above is the main center piece in the image of the First Class Dining Room. It shows Poseidon and his wife, Aphitrite. If you zoom in close on the image of the dining room you can see that there used to be a face attached to the oval in the center, probably a profile of the Kaiser. My best guess is that it was removed when the United States commandeered it in 1917 after joining WWI. This piece is also currently on display, hanging above the doors to one of our rental spaces.
The two pieces above are on either side of the Poseidon piece. You can see that they have also had whatever decoration was in the oval removed.
These are the other two cherub pieces. The one on the left can be seen (barely) on the right side of the dining room on the section that juts out. The other piece is most likely on the left side of the dining room, but I haven’t found a picture that allows me to match it up properly.
It is research and discoveries such as this that make my job so rewarding. I always seem to find things when I least expect them.