A painting by the greatest living marine artist, Steven Dews, which was given in exchange for a beautiful old sailing yacht is for sale at Bonhams Marine Sale at Knightsbridge, London on 2 October.
The painting, A Gusty Nor' Wester - Valkyrie III Racing Britannia and Ailsa for the Muir Memorial Challenge Cup on the Clyde - July 3rd 1895 which is estimated at £50,000-70,000 was the result of an approach by Dews to the owners of a yacht moored in Sydney harbor. He had a novel proposition to make: a painting on a subject of their choice in exchange for the yacht. The family agreed and chose Valkyrie III as the subject because their son had named his own vessel after that very yacht.
The New York Times describes Valkyrie III in an article, 1895, entitled 'A Marvel In Light Airs'. The article covered the yacht's victory against the cutters Britannia and Ailsa on the fifty-mile course of the Royal Yacht Club at Hunter's Quay, Scotland, July 6th. It reads: "The Valkyrie carried her mighty spread of canvas well, and pointed somewhat higher than her competitors. She turned on her heel like a ballet dancer, quicker in stays than either the Britannia or Ailsa, which are swift in going about."
The frame of the present lot has a one dollar Australian coin mounted on the rear, echoing the ancient Roman tradition of placing a coin under the mast of a ship towards the end of construction for good luck.
Steven Dews, who famously failed his 'A' level art exam, has become the leading marine artist of the modern era and his paintings are exhibited all over the world.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com