J-class yachts, including the King's Britannia and Endeavour, racing in the Solent signed 'James. H. Bartholomew' (lower left) oil on canvas 122.5 x 92cm (48 1/4 x 36 1/4in).
In this attractive composition emulating the work of Steven Dews, James Bartholomew has chosen to portray three of the greatest racing yachts ever conceived, one of which, Britannia, was the King's boat and widely considered the most successful cutter ever built. The legendary J-class craft dominated the sport during the 1930s and Ian Dear, the yachting historian, has encapsulated their sheer glamour perhaps better than any other contemporary author when he wrote the following in 1977:-
"Only ten J-Class yachts were ever built and they raced for the America's Cup and other trophies in British and American waters for a mere eight seasons between 1930 and 1937. There have been many yachts that have been larger and still others that have been faster but no one sailing class has ever gripped the imagination of the public at large as much as the 'Js' did...... In fact the 'Js' were unique for their combination of size and speed, and for their owners and the social ambience in which they flowered and died so quickly. They dominated the yachting scene on both sides of the Atlantic for less than a decade before their fantastic cost, the death of England's 'Sailor King' and the approach of World War II banished them for ever."