• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5887

    Maritime Art

    13 May 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 718

    Antonio de Simone (Italian, fl.1877-1910)

    The famous U.S. steam yacht North Star in the Bay of Naples

    Price Realised  

    Antonio de Simone (Italian, fl.1877-1910)
    The famous U.S. steam yacht North Star in the Bay of Naples
    signed 'De Simone' (lower right), and inscribed 'S.Y.North Star' (lower left)
    bodycolour
    16¼ x 24½ in. (41.2 x 62.3 cm.)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Like so many other notable steam yachts which seemed to change their names with alacrity, North Star began her life as Venetia and underwent two further changes of name when acquired by successive owners. A handsome steel screw schooner with an elegant clipper bow, she was designed by W.C. Storey in 1893 and built at Barrow by the Naval Construction & Armaments Company, a comparatively little-known yard destined to become the much more famous firm of Vickers within a few years. Registered at 819 tons gross (329 net & 924 Thames), Venetia measured 256 feet in length with a 29 foot beam, and her triple-expansion engine was augmented with sails by Lapthorn & Ratsey. Venetia was built for Lord Ashburton who sailed her until 1898 when she was sold to Whittaker Wright and renamed Sybarite. In 1902 Wright sold her to William Clark who, having renamed her Cherokee, tired of her within the year and resold her to the immensely wealthy New Yorker Cornelius Vanderbilt III. Vanderbilt, a highly experienced seaman and an enthusiastic yachtsman of both sail and steam, decided to rechristen her North Star after his great-grandfather's legendary paddle yacht of 1853. During Vanderbilt's tenure of ownership, North Star served as flagship to the New York Yacht Club and cruised abroad so extensively that she became one of the most well-known steam yachts in Europe. She was, in fact, at Cowes when the Great War began in August 1914 and this proved her last peacetime outing. The Admiralty soon approached Vanderbilt and he agreed to allow the British Government to hire the North Star for the duration of hostilities. Fitted with 2-3in. guns, she entered service with the Royal Navy in 1915 and was finally released from duty on 4th March 1919. By then worn out by her wartime duties, she was deemed too costly to restore so Vanderbilt sold her and she disappears from record - fate unknown - after 1920.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.