Circle of Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (American, 1850-1921) A regatta off Sandy Hook 50.8 x 76.2cm (20 x 30in)

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Lot 347
Circle of Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen
(American, 1850-1921)
A regatta off Sandy Hook 50.8 x 76.2cm (20 x 30in)

£ 1,500 - 2,000
US$ 1,800 - 2,400
Circle of Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (American, 1850-1921)
A regatta off Sandy Hook
oil on canvas
50.8 x 76.2cm (20 x 30in)

Footnotes

  • Although seemingly unrecognisable as the great yacht which achieved immortality by winning the coveted trophy (in 1851) subsequently named after her, it has been suggested that this work – perhaps the preparatory sketch for something larger? – probably depicts the legendary ‘America’. It certainly shows her as she appeared after Donald McKay’s modifications in 1875 but before she was re-rigged and given a pole bowsprit by Edward Burgess (the designer of the America’s Cup defender ‘Puritan’) in 1885. Furthermore, the “low black hull” which had always been her trademark was finally lost when, in 1887, her then owner, Captain Ben Butler, had her painted white. It is also noteworthy that for the third America’s Cup Challenge in 1876, (‘Countess of Dufferin’ versus ‘Madeleine’), the New York Yacht Club allowed ‘America’ – as a gesture – to take an ‘honorary’ part in the race but starting five minutes behind the two official contestants. The Race Committee nevertheless took her time and, to universal delight, she finished only seven minutes behind the defender (‘Madeleine’) and fully nineteen minutes ahead of the Canadian challenger. This intriguing oil undoubtedly has all the atmosphere of an America’s Cup event off Sandy Hook about it, particularly the Hudson River steamboats carrying spectators in the rear, yet the most prominent vessel taking centre-stage is neither the leader nor trailing but, in fact, in the perfect position to be the ‘America’ as she was in that opening Cup Race on 11th August 1885.

    'America' herself was built in response to a British suggestion that one of the fast pilot-boats for which New York harbour was renowned should be sent to England to compete in the various summer regattas being staged as part of the festivities surrounding the Great Exhibition of 1851. In due course this proposal came to the notice of a group of New York businessmen who approached George Steers to build them a suitable schooner modelled on the design of the city’s distinctive pilot-boats. When the news became public, the Royal Yacht Squadron immediately invited the New York Yacht Club to bring the boat to Cowes that August and thus the stage was set for one of yachting’s most historic encounters. The race which was to make 'America' famous was scheduled for 10 o’clock on the morning of 22nd August and eighteen yachts had entered against the stranger from New York even though three dropped out beforehand. The 58-mile course was around the Isle of Wight and, after a disappointing start, 'America' took the lead at about 11.30am, an advantage she maintained throughout the day. Crossing the finishing line at 8.37pm that evening, she was only 8 minutes ahead of her nearest rival 'Aurora' but that was more than enough to ensure her immortality; as the judges’ flag came down, the legend was born.
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