A good captain, states the lore of the sea, should always go down with his ship. In the case of the Titanic, though, it was not just her master but her designer, too, who remained at his post as the "unsinkable" liner submerged in the early hours of 15 April 1912. In the 1958 film of the disaster, A Night to Remember, the last we see of Michael Goodliffe's phlegmatic Mr Thomas Andrews is a shot of him standing alone in the ship's deserted smoking-room, staring fixedly at the picture above the mantelpiece. It's a poignant scene, all stiff upper lip and understated heroics. There's just one problem: it's the wrong painting.

The original canvas - Norman Wilkinson's Plymouth Harbour, commissioned by Lord Pirrie, chairman of the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff - was obviously lost when the Titanic went down. So, for his film, director Roy Ward Baker substituted another Wilkinson work, and one with a more suitably resonant title, Approach to the New World (originally painted for the Titanic's sister ship, the SS Olympic).

Thanks to a painstaking reconstruction of the original painting by the artist's son Rodney, based upon a small (7in x 3in) black-and-white reproduction found among his late father's effects, Plymouth Harbour (right) can not only be seen for the first time hanging alongside its original companion- piece, Approach to the New World, in the Southampton Maritime Museum, but, in James Cameron's new film Titanic, has finally been restored to its rightful position above the smoking-room fireplace.

With thanks to Camilla Wilkinson, the artist's granddaughter

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