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Cunard Crest

This large Cunard crest was located on the exterior wall of the Cunard Company offices in Queenstown (now Cobh) from 1867 until the early 1900s.
When the Cunard Line merged with the White Star Line in 1934 the crest was moved to a basement, where it remained until 1973 when it was given to Cobh Museum. In 2012 conservation work was carried out on the crest and it is on display in the entrance porch of the museum.

Conservation Assessment

In early 2012 an assessment of the crest was undertaken by Susannah Kelly, Archaeological Conservator. The iron of the crest had some corrosion. The crest appeared to have been originally painted in bright royal colours of red, blue and gold. At some time in the past (probably in the 1950s) the entire surface of the crest had been roughly painted over with a heavy, industrial type paint, which obscured some of the original detail of the crest. The later blue paint had now paled, the red was dull and dirty and the gold had turned a green/blue colour. The paint layers were lifting and crumbling and some small areas of the original paint could be seen underneath.


Cunard Crest before Restoration


In February 2012 Ms Kelly began conservation cleaning and treatment of the crest. Removal of the later paint was undertaken using scalpels and an ultrasonic descaler. It was noted that the later paintwork was relatively loosely adhering and could be removed without lifting the original paintwork, which survived extensively across the crest. The removal of the red and gold paint of the crown at the top of the crest revealed that the ermine trim area had originally been painted white, with the rest of the crown being red and gold. All the gold overpainting of the bands, lettering and lion was degraded and lifting and when this was removed, the original gold and yellow paintwork beneath it was revealed. The blue paint around the band was removed to reveal a deeper shade of the original paint and when the red of the central disc was removed a brighter, original paint was visible beneath. A patch of gold paint at the base of the crest revealed that a buckle had once been attached but was now missing. There are four iron bolts attaching the crest to the wall. Prior to the conservation work these were rusty and crusted. During the cleaning process the surfaces of the bolts were cleaned back and sanded and a solution was applied to reduce the surface metal to a more stable state. This caused a surface colour change from orange to black.


Cunard Crest restoration work
Following the removal of the paint the surfaces were brushed down. When the entire crest had been cleaned it was treated to delay any future deterioration. A protective barrier was applied over the entire surface and a coat of conservation wax was applied to all surfaces.




The restored crest is now on display in the entrance porch of the museum.
Cunard Crest after Restoration
horizonal break with red doors