• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1963

    Maritime Art Including Fine Paintings, Nautical Antiques, Scrimshaw And Ship Models

    30 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 350

    Stephen J. Renard (British, b.1943)

    Britannia, Cambria, Lulworth and Shamrock vying for line honours, 1927

    Price Realised  

    Stephen J. Renard (British, b.1943)
    Britannia, Cambria, Lulworth and Shamrock vying for line honours, 1927
    signed 'Stephen J Renard' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    28 x 42 in. (71.2 x 106.8)


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    Britannia, built for King Edward VII when Prince of Wales in 1893, was undoubtedly the most famous racing cutter of them 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.
    The second of the two famous Cambrias - her earlier namesake had been the first America's Cup challenger in 1870 - was designed and built by William Fife at Fairlie in 1928. Owned by Sir William Berry, later Viscount Camrose, the proprietor of the Daily Telegraph newspaper, she was a magnificent Bermudian-rigged 23-metre composite cutter which soon became one of the most well-known racing yachts of her day. Registered at 162 tons Thames (86 gross and net), she measured 93 feet in length (75 feet at the waterline) with a 20= foot beam and a 10= draft. After a relatively short career at Cowes and elsewhere in home waters, she was sold to H.F. Giraud of Izmir (Turkey) in the mid-1930s; he renamed her Lillias, removed her to Chios in the Aegean and thus she was lost to the British racing scene for which she had been created in its golden years.
    Lulworth was designed and built by White Bros. at Itchen in 1920 for Mr. R.H. Lee of Bovey Tracey, Devon. Originally christened Terpsichore and rigged as a cutter, she was registered at 123 tons gross (111= net and 186 Thames) and measured 95= feet in length with a 22 foot beam. Purchased by Sir A. Mortimer Singer - the immensely wealthy naturalised British son of the American inventor of the sewing machine - after Lee's death in 1924, Singer renamed her Lulworth, a name she retained after being purchased by Alexander Paton in 1928. A splendid boat from the start, she nevertheless came into her own under Paton's colours and became a familiar and successful competitor at Cowes during the final years of King George V's long patronage. Ironically, Britannia (the King's yacht) and Lulworth were both laid up after the 1935 Season, the former never to sail again due to the King's death in January 1936, the latter for sale to Mr. Carl Bendix who kept her until the Second World War. Somehow surviving hostilities, she was refitted after the War and is still afloat and sailing competitively despite numerous changes of ownership.
    Whereas Edward VII, both as King and Prince of Wales, and his son George V remained loyal to their legendary cutter Britannia for forty years, Sir Thomas Lipton did the opposite and spent his long racing career continually upgrading his famous Shamrocks in repeated attempts to win the America's Cup. Lipton, the immensely wealthy tea magnate of Irish parentage, bought his first Shamrock in 1899 and, by the time of his death in 1931, he had owned a succession of six splendid cutters, all but one of which unsuccessfully challenged for the elusive "Auld Mug" as Lipton liked to call the America's Cup. By the time Cambria was completed in 1928, Lipton was still racing but using the only one of his Shamrocks which had not been ordered specifically for a Cup Challenge. Designed and built by William Fife at Fairlie in 1908, she was a composite cutter of 175 tons gross (94 net) and was constructed to the International 23-metre class. Measuring 113 feet in length (75= feet at the waterline) with a 20= foot beam, she proved a great success and won many prizes for Lipton away from the spotlight of the "Auld Mug's" races off Sandy Hook.