The 'S.Y. Erin' signed 'De Simone' and dated 1905 (lower right), inscribed 'S.Y. Erin' (lower left) gouache 27.3 x 42cm. (10 3/4 x 16 1/2in.), oval
The steam yacht 'Erin' was purchased by Sir Thomas Lipton, one of the early twentieth centurys most determined yachtsmen and the dominant personality in the tea industry, in 1898, two years after she was launched under her original name of 'Aegusa'. Rigged as a screw schooner, she was registered at 451½ tons net and measured 264½ feet in length with a 31½ foot beam. Powered by a triple-expansion engine fired from two Scotch boilers, she was both fast and elegant and, having once passed into Liptons ownership, soon became one of the most well-known steam yachts on both sides of the Atlantic. Liptons great passion was to win the Americas Cup and 'Erin' served as his floating base for his unsuccessful challenges in 1899, 1901 and 1903. En route to the United States for a fourth challenge when war was declared in 1914, she returned home after first being fitted out as a hospital ship. Presented to the Admiralty who restored her original name as there was an existing 'Erin in the fleet, she served as a hospital ship in the Mediterranean until torpedoed and sunk in June 1915.