Philip John Ouless; Royal Yacht going through the Channel Experimental Fleet, oil on canvas
Lot 101*
Philip John Ouless (British, 1817-1885) The Royal Yacht 'Fairy', with Queen Victoria on board, threading her way through ships of the fleet anchored in Spithead 67.3 x 95.2cm. (26 1/2 x 37 1/2in.)
Sold for £32,400 (US$ 50,810) inc. premium

Lot Details
Philip John Ouless (British, 1817-1885)
The Royal Yacht 'Fairy', with Queen Victoria on board, threading her way through ships of the fleet anchored in Spithead
signed 'Ph. J. Ouless' and dated 1852 (lower left)
oil on canvas
67.3 x 95.2cm. (26 1/2 x 37 1/2in.)

Footnotes

  • The first royal steam yacht 'Victoria & Albert I' was completed in 1843 but as soon as she entered service, it became apparent that she was too large to visit many small ports and, in any event, needed a fast tender to accompany her on long journeys. Thus, in 1844, a much smaller screw-powered yacht was ordered and built by Ditchburn & Mare on the Thames at Blackwall. Christened 'Fairy' and displacing 317 tons, she was launched in March 1845 and measured 161 feet in length with a 21 foot beam. Capable of 13 knots at full steam, she was commissioned at Portsmouth on 9th July (1845) and proved ideal for carrying her royal passengers not only into shallow harbours but also up rivers impassable to the larger yacht. In 1845, she took the Royal Party on a cruise up the Rhine and the following year up the Tamar during a hugely successful royal visit to Cornwall.

    In addition to her considerable usefulness on royal tours, she also proved extremely convenient as a ferry between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight where her shallow draft allowed her to berth at Trinity Pier [for Osborne House] once the Queen and her growing family began to spend more and more time at their seaside retreat. Since there is no record of 'Fairy' being needed for any lengthy sea-going tours in 1852, it is probable that this atmospheric piece by Ouless simply shows 'Fairy' returning to Portsmouth – her home port – from the Isle of Wight in the gathering dusk of what had clearly been a glorious summer’s day.
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