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Silversea Reveals Details of Silver Origin’s 195-Piece Immersive Art Collection

September 11, 2020 Cruise No Comments Email Email

Silver Origin has now arrived in Manta, Ecuador, ready to welcome Silversea’s guests. When the all-suite, all-balcony, 100-guest Silver Origin begins year-round voyages in the Galapagos archipelago later this year, a regionally-inspired collection of 195 art pieces will enrich guests’ travels, comprising 122 framed artworks, 69 sculptures, and four installations.

Amplifying Silver Origin’s feel of whispered luxury, the meaningful art collection will combine contemporary and historical pieces to communicate the rich history of travel in the Galapagos Archipelago, as well as the region’s scientific significance and its distinctive natural beauty. In some instances, the art pieces will provide context to the legendary second voyage of Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle; in others, they will inspire deeper thoughts on the islands’ unique wildlife; while other pieces might explore the theme of botany, for example.

The result is a ship brimming with curiosities, which tell many stories about the Galapagos. As guests explore the collection, including the works of art that adorn the walls of their own suites, they have the opportunity to marvel at natural wonders, delve into the history of the islands, and feel the excitement of great explorers and naturalists.

With its focus on the untouched beauty and amazing wildlife of the Galapagos, Silversea’s new destination-specific expedition ship will strengthen guests’ connections with the islands through its onboard art collection. The ship’s thought-provoking exhibits, displayed throughout the public spaces and suites, include elegantly framed artwork, sculptures, rare books, original and replica artefacts, and unusual objects gathered from both local sources and from around the world.

To source, commission and organize the works, Silversea turned to Peter Millard and Partners Ltd., a London-based art consultancy firm. Ally Millard, the firm’s Creative Director, reached out to a variety of international artists to create original works.

“We wanted to ensure that this collection displayed not only historical and traditional artworks, but also incorporated pieces such as watercolors, photographs and paintings of the Galapagos experience, cast from the eyes of contemporary artists and travelers—offering guests new artistic discoveries to enrich their journeys,” says Millard.

At the same time, Millard scoured major universities and libraries for collections related to historical expeditions, and tapped the expertise and resources of Silversea’s long-time partner, the UK’s Royal Geographical Society with IBG.

“The Royal Geographical Society is home to rare and unique items linked to early European documenting, mapping and scientific understanding of the Galapagos,” says Alasdair MacLeod, Head of Enterprise and Resources at the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). We are delighted that so many are featured, in beautiful facsimile form as part of Silver Origin’s art collection: as inspiring today as they were when first created, some over 200 years ago.”

Basecamp: Cabinets of Curiosities 

One of Silver Origin’s most innovative spaces, Basecamp, is designed especially to bring the destination on board. It is the heart of the ship, where educational activities are hosted and where guests can interact with Silversea’s team of expert guides to learn more about the rare wildlife, remarkable landscapes and captivating history of the Galapagos, before and after excursions. It is also the centerpiece of the art collection, with walls that showcase elegantly framed maps and illustrations, and display cases that house a carefully curated menagerie of contemporary sculptures, artefacts, and rare books.

“Cabinets of curiosities, the forerunners of today’s museums, recall an earlier time when explorers and scientists, like Charles Darwin himself, were driven by wanderlust and a quest for knowledge. It’s in this spirit that we have created an art collection that pays tribute to the beauty, history and curiosities of the Galapagos, while entertaining and enlightening our guests,” says Fernando Delgado, Vice President of Silversea Cruises Ecuador. “We look forward to welcoming guests into the grand ‘wonder room’ that is our beautiful, new Silver Origin.”

A sampling of Basecamp’s art collection includes:

  • Antiquarian Books: Rare editions of Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ and ‘The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle,’ containing beautiful, full-color wildlife illustrations, and ‘Galapagos: World’s End,’ by William Beebe, distinguished American biologist and explorer.
  • Pre-Columbian Sculptures: A Chimu pottery vessel with figural face, from nearby Peru, c. AD 1000, and a Vicús painted terracotta whistling jar in the shape of a dog, from Peru, c. AD 200.
  • Explorer Artefacts: An armillary sphere, globe, sextant and compass from the 19th century.
  • ‘Outlines of Botanical Geography’: a seminal map by Alexander von Humboldt, the famed German naturalist and explorer who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries. (Work reproduced with the permission of The Royal Geographical Society with IBG.)
  • Contemporary Sculptures: Brass bird sculptures with gemstone eyes by Ecuadorian artist Joaquin Tinta; ‘Efflorescence,’ a porcelain sculpture by Kenya-born Briton Vanessa Hogge; a large, bronze Galapagos saddleback turtle by American sculptor Scott Shaffer; and a hand-folded vintage book by paper artist Anna Bonino of CRIZU.


 A focus on the natural wonders of the Galapagos extends throughout the guest suites. For all three categories of Veranda Suites, American artist Paula Mattson was commissioned to create limited-edition watercolor prints of wildlife, such as marine iguanas and butterflies. The ship’s Deluxe Veranda Suites also boast an original collage by British artist Julian Bray. For the Owner’s, Grand, Royal and Medallion Suites, watercolors by Conrad Martens, the artist aboard HMS Beagle when Charles Darwin traveled to the Galapagos, are complemented by contemporary works by such artists as Humphrey Bangham, Simon Bingle, Karenina Fabrizzi, and Julian Bray.

The Restaurant

 Not only will guests enjoy an abundance of natural light and far-reaching views as they dine in The Restaurant, but nature-inspired original works by artists Gregor Törzs, Frank Faulkner, and Alan Bur Johnson will enhance the experience. These include an original installation entitled ‘Murmuration 2020,’ which is wrapped around the banquette seating area. The concept for the work, a magnifying glass, was conceived by the ship’s interior architects, Hirsch-Bedner Associates, and then developed by Peter Millard and Partners Ltd. in collaboration with artist Alan Bur Johnson. When viewed, the installation evokes a sense of looking through a magnifying lens, as early naturalists would have done when gathering specimens and studying the wildlife of the Galapagos.

Explorer Lounge

 With floor-to-ceiling windows for sweeping views of the Galapagos, Silver Origin’s Explorer Lounge is the setting for daily briefings and lectures from the ship’s Naturalist Guides. Here, the artwork presents the Galapagos through the eyes of the contemporary traveler, featuring an array of sketchbooks, watercolors, drawings and other works from contemporary amateur and professional artists. The collection includes an abstract bronze resin sculpture by Briton Lynn Warren, as well as a watercolor of Galapagos Storm Petrels by American painter Karen Rose.

Observation Lounge

In the Observation Lounge, where guests can enjoy expansive views of the Galapagos or relax with a book, the artistic works include wildlife photographs by Ecuadorian photographer Fernando Espinosa, porcelain abstract sculptures by French artist Pascal Morin and British artist Katharine Morling, ceramics by Ecuadorian artist Eduardo Vega and Brazilian artist Selma Calheira, and brass bird sculptures by Joaquin Tinta. There are also bronze sculptures by Brits Anthony Smith and Jemma Pearson, who was so inspired on a family trip to the Galapagos that when she returned home, she set about developing a series of sculptures, including marine iguanas, Galapagos Penguins, boobies and sea lions.

Steve McCurry 

Silver Origin’s art collection would not be complete without the works of Silversea’s own “eye on the world,” the internationally renowned photographer, Steve McCurry. Included among his far-reaching travels is Ecuador, where he traveled extensively to photograph Ecuadorian culture and people. Silversea is honored to display several of his Ecuadorian portraits in select circulation areas of the ship. McCurry has also journeyed to the Galapagos, and two of his wildlife photographs from his visit to the islands grace the walls outside The Restaurant.

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