P&O CRUISES / MEDITERRANEAN NORWAY / BY S.S. RANCHI. Circa 1928.
58 1/2x39 1/2 inches, 148 1/2x100 1/4 cm. Philip Reid, London. Condition B: repaired tears, creases, abrasions and overpainting in margins and image and along vertical and horizontal folds.
The S.S. Ranchi began yearly cruises to Norway shortly after her launch in 1925. In 1928, this same image appeared as a magazine ad in Punch, which helps us date the poster. Silas, best remembered as a painter, fought at Gallipoli in the First World War. During that time he did a lot of sketching, which he subsequently turned into paintings. He also designed posters for British railway companies and several shipping lines. Here, on the first-class sports deck behind the second funnel, well-dressed cruisers watch a game of "Deck Tennis," a hybrid of volleyball and tennis, played with a rubber ring. The S.S. Ranchi crossed over into popular culture thanks to a cameo appearance in one of the highly regarded Tintin adventures, the Blue Lotus (although she was depicted with three funnels instead of the two she had in reality).