That is not a real photo, it is a period illustration drawn by a concept artist to show what the completed saloon was intended to look like.
Such illustrations are not accurate representations of completed interior work. For example that drawing shows three rows of lights on the ceiling top-left when in reality there were only two rows of lights in that area of the completed saloon.
Also, even if that a real photo, it’s not “the only one to exist”. There is one real photo of Titanic’s First Class Dining Saloon, this one:
The photo was taken by Frank Browne before he left the ship at Queenstown, Ireland.
Note the table bottom-right, and in fact any other visible tables. There appear to be no lamps at all, and not even any flowers. And then there are many photos that show Olympic’s First Class Dining Saloon (Olympic being Titanic’s near-identical sister ship, in case you were not aware), two of which are shown below:
(Photo sources: Titanic: The Ship Magnificent, Volume 2)
The two photos show the saloon at different points in her career, but neither shows lamps, nor even any flowers.
The fact is, there were no lamps in Titanic’s and Olympic’s dining saloons. Lamps may have originally been desired by the designers and shown in one or two illustrations, but they were never installed on either ship. There were 115 tables in Titanic’s First Class Saloon, most located away from walls and thus wall electrical outlets and wiring, and wiring all of those tables for lamps was not cost-effective and not necessary.
As for the Verandah Cafe and Palm Court, there is also one photo that exists of Titanic’s Starboard Verandah and Palm Court, shown below:
(Photo source: Titanic: The Ship Magnificent, Volume 2)
Other photos show Olympic’s Verandah and Palm Courts, one of which is shown below:
(Photo source: Titanic: The Ship Magnificent, Volume 2)
Those and no other photos of Olympic’s Verandah and Palm Courts show any flowers set on the tables, and it seems unlikely there ever were flowers as a large amount of flowers - they no doubt would have preferred real ones - would be impractical on a large ship away from land for a week at a time. Indeed plants seemed to be fairly spartan on Titanic and Olympic. In the case of Titanic, it was mostly limited to potted palms in the Reception Rooms and Reading and Writing Room. There is one double-exposed photo that appears to show some flowers set on a table of one of the Private Promenade on Titanic, but this was likely an exception due to April 10th - the probable date the photo was taken - being the birthday of one of the passengers in that suite, the flowers possibly a gift from the White Star Line or a friend, according to “Titanic in Photographs” by historians Steve Hall and Daniel Klistorner. So, it simply was not common practice to set flowers all over the ship.
As for the First Class amidships corridors, no photos are known to exist that directly show them. However, there is no evidence that Titanic’s corridors had wall sconces. Those corridors were lit with fixtures in the ceiling every few feet, and that would have been more than enough.
C______ (firstname.lastname@example.org) submitted:
Finally, these two pictures from James Cameron’s Titanic were submitted, apparently as evidence that there were lamps in the Dining Saloon and Flowers in the Verandah and Palm Courts.
Those screen grabs are from a fictionalized film showing sets that are far from the real thing. Cameron’s team did the best job they could with what information they had, but little details still would have slipped through the cracks, and artistic license would have been taken with the sets.
At any rate, what you see in films is not proof or evidence of anything, even historical films that claim a great deal of accuracy. The set in Cameron’s film may have had lamps and flowers, but in reality actual photos of the actual Titanic/Olympic do not show such features and there is no other evidence to speak of. Nor does the inclusion of wall sconces in Titanic’s corridor set prove such sconces existed on the real Titanic. The same goes for everything else in the film, because it’s a film.
Finally, here’s another message pertaining to this issue:
Can honor and glory put lamps on their dining room tables and flowers in vases on verandah cafe tables? Please it would look a teensy tiny better.
Taking all previous messages and matters into consideration along with the statement that it would “look better” to have lamps and flowers on the tables, I just have this to say:
In historical research, it’s important to carry a high standard of evidence, and not to favour a conclusion just because it seems pleasing. The Titanic: Honor and Glory team tries to uphold a high standard of historical research where possible. That’s why we have a vast amount of reference material at our disposal and have historians and researchers as consultants on our team, to make sure we get it as right as we can.
If something does not seem right, we will change it or get rid of it. If something is shown to be inaccurate by new evidence, we will change it to be more accurate if possible. What we will NOT do is simply use films as historical evidence, and we will not change something or add a major feature simply because it might look or feel better. We WILL do is go with what’s accurate, or what evidence suggests, or what’s most logical.
That being said, our team also welcome suggestions from those who want to help us improve the accuracy of our virtual recreation, as well as questions from those curious about our work and the Titanic. But we do ask that suggestions for major structural and historical details have well-researched evidence to support them, and that films or other recreations are not presented to us as such evidence.
In fact, even when our own virtual recreation of Titanic is complete, we would suggest that it not be taken as an absolute authority on what Titanic looked like. No matter how much research we put into our work, it is not possible for us to be 100% accurate. Many of our details will be the result of educated guesswork since most areas of Titanic are not well documented in photographs or detailed plans, or other documentation, and sometimes we have nothing at all for us to go by. We may make the fabric in a certain room red, but that does not mean it was red on the real ship, it could have been green, or an entirely different pattern. The point is that one should never take recreations of historical locations and events as absolute fact. If you want things to be accurate, try to research things on your own wherever possible, keeping a high standard of evidence as you do so.
To quote Bertrand Russell: Never let yourself be diverted by what you wish to believe… …and look only and solely at what are the facts. This is important for anything, no less historical research, and it’s important to us in our work to recreate Titanic and bring her story to life.