• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2067

    Maritime Art

    3 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 121

    Richard M. Firth (British, b. 1971)

    Lulworth and Britannia racing off the Royal Yacht Squadron

    Price Realised  

    Richard M. Firth (British, b. 1971)
    Lulworth and Britannia racing off the Royal Yacht Squadron
    signed 'Richard M Firth' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    30 x 50 in. (76.2 x 127 cm.)


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    Britannia, built for King Edward VII when Prince of Wales in 1893, was undoubtedly the most famous racing cutter of all. Hugely successful during her long life, she won 33 firsts out of 39 starts in her maiden season and competed against all the fastest yachts of the day. Sold in 1897 - although bought back for cruising in 1901 by which time the Prince of Wales had succeeded to the throne - her second racing career really came into its own when King George V had her refitted for big class competitions in 1921. Under the King's enthusiastic ownership, Britannia went from success to success. Despite being re-rigged seven times in all, her hull shape was so efficient that she remained competitive almost to the end and was only finally outclassed by the big J-class boats introduced in the mid-1930's. King George V died in 1936 and under the terms of his will, Britannia was stripped of her salvageable gear and scuttled off the southern tip of the Isle of Wight.

    Lulworth was designed and build by White Bros. at Itchen and registered at 186 tons tm. Originally named Terpsichore, she changed her name when acquired by Alexander Paton and it was under his ownership that she really excelled.