Charles Edward Dixon (British, 1872-1934) Waterwitch out in front as she races past the guardship at Cowes
Lot 127
Charles Edward Dixon
(British, 1872-1934)
Waterwitch out in front as she races past the guardship at Cowes
Sold for £3,500 (US$ 5,816) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Charles Edward Dixon (British, 1872-1934)
Waterwitch out in front as she races past the guardship at Cowes
signed and dated 'Edward Dixon 1912' (lower left)
watercolour and bodycolour
47 x 35.3cm (18 1/2 x 13 7/8in).

Footnotes

  • In that golden era just before the outbreak of the Great War, three of the most notable schooners to wear the Royal Yacht Squadron's colours were all owned, in quick succession, by the same man, Major Cecil Whitaker. The middle 'sister' of this remarkable trio was Waterwitch, a magnificent big schooner built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company at Troon and registered at 352 tons gross. Whitaker, in fact, contributed greatly to the revival of the racing schooner's popularity which had, to an extent at least, waned somewhat during the latter part of the 19th century.

    His first creation, Cicely, 263 tons gross, proved highly successful when she was delivered in 1908 but, in the spring of 1911, Whitaker placed the order for Waterwitch to replace her. Completed in time for Cowes Regatta that same year, her maiden outing proved a glamorous affair, not least thanks to the colourful pageantry generated by the new King's coronation only weeks before. George V, an enthusiastic yachtsman, brought a fresh impetus to the sport and Waterwitch, brand new and with her varnish barely dry, attracted wide admiration from the discerning crowds which flocked to the spectacle. Although dated 1912, it seems quite likely that this work depicts Waterwitch ahead of Sir Maurice FitzGerald's Julnar in the King's Cup Race the previous year; in the event, Julnar overtook Waterwitch in a "light reaching wind" and just took the prize much to Whitaker's great disappointment, but it was nevertheless a heady moment in her short life.

    Sadly, Waterwitch never really came up to Whitaker's high expectations, with the result that, at the end of the 1912 Season, he ordered her replacement with the last of his three celebrated schooners Marguerite. She was, in fact, to prove the best of the trio and enjoyed a hugely successful career under first Whitaker and then her subsequent owners.

    Major George Cecil Whitaker (1880-1959) served in the Coldstream Guards from 1902 until 1906, rejoined them in France in 1916 and transferred into the Guards' Machine Gun Regiment in 1917. A prominent yachting personality, he made his fortune importing Marsala (wine) from Sicily.
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