• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5386


    21 May 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 67

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

    The British steam yacht Emerald in Neapolitan waters

    Price Realised  


    Antonio de Simone (Italian, fl.1860-1900)
    The British steam yacht Emerald in Neapolitan waters
    signed and dated 'De Simone/1906' (lower right) and inscribed 'S.Y. Emerald' (lower left)
    17 x 25¼ in. (43.2 x 64.2 cm.)

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    Designed and built by Stephens on the Clyde in 1903, Emerald was owned by Sir Christopher [later Lord] Furness, a scion of one of northeast England's wealthiest industrial families. Registered at 694 tons gross (472 net & 797 Thames), she measured 212 feet in length with a 29 foot beam and sported a classic schooner rig with sails by Lapthorn & Ratsey. Constructed with two decks, the upper one of teak, and lit by electricity throughout, no expense was spared to fit her out and she was the epitome of luxury. Her excellent speed was the result of triple screws driven, most unusually at this early date, by three powerful Parsons' steam turbines; in every sense the acme of modernity, she was undoubtedly one of the finest yachts of her day.

    Another of her claims to fame was that she was the first turbine-powered vessel to cross the Atlantic when she was chartered by Jay Gould, the well-known American yachtsman, to use as his temporary home from which to watch the 1903 America's Cup races. After nine years' usage by Lord Furness, she was offered for sale after his death in November 1912 and purchased by Lord Inverclyde of Castle Wemyss who renamed her Beryl. Sadly, her new owner enjoyed her for only about a year as in December 1913, whilst lying at her mooring in the Gareloch, the yacht was boarded and set on fire by militant suffragettes and totally destroyed; newspaper reports at the time valued the loss at £40,000.

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