Oil on CanvasNOTES AMERICA-SCOOP :
20 x 28 Inches
America's Cup races were historic events of great interest, particularly in the
matchup of rivals America and Great Britain for yachting's most prestigious
title. This 6th America's Cup race pitted American yacht MAYFLOWER of the New
York Yacht Club against British yacht GALATEA of the Royal Northern Yacht Club,
Rothsay, Isle of Bute, Scotland.
Built in 1886 by George Lawley's City
Point Yard in Boston from the design of Edward Burgess, MAYFLOWER followed their
successful syndicate project led by Paine and J. Malcolm Forbes with PURITAN,
the defender of the 1885 challenge. They both possessed deeper hulls with lead
ballast on the outside, overhanging sterns and modified cutter rigs, greatly
changing yacht design to a far more capable boat in all weather. MAYFLOWER was
100' with a 85˝' waterline, 23˝' beam and a 9'9" draft that extended down 20'
with the centerboard. GALATEA, designed by John Beaver-Webb and built in 1885
for owner Lt. Willam Henn, R.N., was 102.4' in length overall, with a 15' beam
and 13.6' draft.
MAYFLOWER was not successful in her first matches, but
after some adaptations, by August she was unbeatable- winning not only the
trials and the Cup, but every match she raced the rest of the
Demand for works of art depicting this match were extreme with
every fine maritime painter of the day taking on the great race. However, it was
this painting by Bassford that drew the attention of Currier & Ives who
lithographed it into the well-known piece entitled, “Mayflower Saluted by the
Fleet: Crossing the Bow of the Galatea in their first race for the America's Cup
over the inside course, New York Bay, Sept. 7th, 1886”.
Currier & Ives saw this painting they recognized Bassford's artistic skill and
attention to detail which can be seen throughout. Spectator vessels surround the
two racing yachts- the open decks of two public white excursion boats can be
seen fore and aft of the Mayflower, along with three private steam vessels each
bearing the NYYC burgee. Further behind the full sails of other yachts can be
seen following the race. From lively impressionistic brushwork in the sea to
every detail on the ships, every element of this painting expresses the
importance and excitement of the race.
Provenance: East Coast Private