R.M.S. Servia – 1881

I’ve been interested in steam/sail transition vessels for years. Ships with steam Auxillary and later sail auxiliary revolutionized travel at sea. Oceanic travel was no longer at the mercy of the winds.
Servia has the distinction of three significant innovations in passenger travel: the first passenger liner built of steel, first liner built with electric lighting, and significantly improved accommodations for third-class passengers. Elegantly fitted out as she was, she lasted a bare year as the Cunard flagship. Servia failed to win the coveted trophy, the Blue Ribband, awarded to ships making record crossings of the Atlantic.

The Blue Ribband

Built-in 1881 by 1900, she was being sailed under bare poles, dependent on her steam engines. Servia was sent to the scrapers by 1910.


I have portrayed Servia as she might have looked on her first voyage to New York. Graceful, under a press of sail. Her modified barque rig is propelling Servia towards New York Harbor.
Framed by a shop built teak frame, Servia is primarily constructed of cherry with mixed media detail parts and paint. Servia itself is LOA (length overall) 18.75 inches (476.25 millimeters). The portrait framed is 29.25 inches wide (743 millimeters) and 12.5 inches ( 314.5 millimeters) tall.