• Maritime Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5949

    Maritime Art

    11 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 57

    Antonio de Simone (Italian, fl.1860-1900)

    The Royal Yacht Squadron's schooner Modwena dressed overall offshore

    Price Realised  

    Antonio de Simone (Italian, fl.1860-1900)
    The Royal Yacht Squadron's schooner Modwena dressed overall offshore
    signed 'De Simone' (lower right)
    bodycolour
    18½ x 25 in. (47 x 63.5 cm.)


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    Designed by the highly talented St. Clare J. Byrne, Modwena was built for Mr. John Gretton of Burton-on-Trent by Bowdler, Chaffer & Co. at Seacombe in 1872. A large and handsome composite schooner as befitted the wealth of her owner, she was registered at 225 tons gross (161 net) and measured 116 feet in length with a 21 foot beam. Fitted with Ratsey & Lapthorn sails when completed, these were replaced in 1897 although she remained otherwise unchanged until her first owner died at Cowes in October 1899. An immensely wealthy brewer and also a successful racehorse owner, Gretton left an estate valued at almost £3 million whereupon Modwena was offered for sale by his executors. Purchased by Walter H. Smith of Goole, Yorkshire, she then passed briefly into the ownership of F.G.P. Preston, J.P., of Steventon who renamed her Moina and then sold her on to M. Waché de Roo of Paris who promptly fitted her with a paraffin engine. Thereafter kept at Havre, she disappears from record after 1914, perhaps a casualty of the Great War.

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