The world’s most valuable Titanic auction item ‘comes home’. The original plan used throughout the British Titanic Inquiry just one month after the great ship’s sinking in April 1912 launches at Titanic Belfast today.
The historic plan, commissioned by the Board of Trade for the British inquiry, was designed and prepared by White Star Line architects. It allowed 96 witnesses called to testify, to indicate various parts of the ship using a pointer, and original markings remain to this day.
After the inquiry concluded that the loss of Titanic had been brought about by “excessive speed”, this historic plan was returned to White Star Line.
It remained in private hands until earlier this year when it was bought at auction by a private bidder, who has donated it for display at Titanic Belfast.
Sean Madden, Paper Conservator at the Fine Art Studio in Lurgan, Co Armagh, has tenderly prepared the huge British Titanic Enquiry Plan for its arrival at Titanic Belfast.
Sean said: “The plan is 1m 41.5cm x 9m 20.5cm and has been a fascinating piece to work on. It is in remarkable condition for its age and a vital piece of the Titanic story. It is without doubt one of the most famous artefacts of Titanic. Historically, it is very important.
“If the Mona Lisa was placed on sale tomorrow, how much would it be valued at? It is not possible to put a price on the Mona Lisa, and the Titanic Inquiry Plan is no different. It is irreplaceable. I would say that it transcends economic value, given its role in Titanic history. Restoring and preparing the plan for display at Titanic Belfast has been an honour.”
Interestingly, Sean Madden’s research and expertise on the drawing of Titanic suggests the plan could have likely drawn in Belfast and used during the fit-out stage of the ship.
He added: “This is a Titanic drawing and plan in every sense, and it is my view that it could not have been drawn, even by a team of people, in the time-span between the disaster and the British Inquiry. I would estimate that White Star Line would have only had around 10 days to prepare and draw this piece and that would not have been possible back then. My belief is that this plan was used for reference at the fit-out stage of Titanic and would therefore have been in existence from around 1908.
“There is room for a lot more research on this remarkable piece of the Titanic story, of that I am certain.”
Titanic Belfast CEO Tim Husbands said: “It is an overwhelming gesture by the owner of the British Titanic Inquiry Plan to display it at Titanic Belfast for visitors to view. The historical and cultural importance of the Inquiry Plan cannot be overestimated. We are very excited about its arrival to Titanic Belfast.”
TITANIC INQUIRY PROJECT: http://www.titanicinquiry.org
BBC WILTSHIRE: http://www.bbc.co.uk
DAILY MIRROR: http://www.mirror.co.uk
PRESS TV: http://www.presstv.ir
CANADA TV: http://www.ctvnews.ca