Painted circa 1901, the present work depicts The Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, the yacht club famous for instigating what was to become the most prestigious racing event in the world, the America's Cup. The fully dressed flag staff, replete with the club's ensign and signal flags, suggests that Cowes Regatta week is the occasion depicted. Indulging his passion for the sea and flush with financial success, Helleu and his wife frequented this famous event on their yacht, L'Étoile, which enabled the artist to capture in paint the golden age of Cowes as well as entertain the cream of English society. It is certain that Proust was thinking of his friend Helleu, when the painter Elstir says in À la recherche du temps perdu: 'Le plus grand charme d'un yacht, de l'ameublement d'un yacht, des toilettes de yachting, est leur simplicité des choses de la mer, et j'aime tant la mer' (quoted in A.M. Bergeret-Gourbin & M.L. Imhoff, exh. cat., Paul Helleu, Alençon, 1993, p. 31).