Mr. Joseph Gee, of Cottingham Hall, Yorkshire, was elected a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1849 and owned, successively, five racing yachts between 1850 and 1860 when his name disappears from the R.Y.S.'s membership lists. The first yacht he acquired was the renowned Corsair, built in 1825 and a famous racer in her early days, whilst his last boat, bought after the disposal of his fifth yacht Maritana in 1855, was the 77-ton Chesapeake, listed in R.Y.S. records as a steamship but presumably a steam yacht.
In view of the above information coupled with the inclusion of racing craft into his portrait, it seems highly probable that this work was commissioned to mark Gee's election to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1849.
His wife, Elizabeth Jane Gee was the sister-in-law of the marine artist Robert Ernest Roe.
(see lots 441 to 446)