signed 'J.S. Dews' (lower left)NOTES AMERICA-SCOOP :
oil on canvas
66 x 101.6cm (26 x 40in).
In this characteristically spectacular work, Steven Dews has chosen to portray five 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, whilst three of the others – Shamrock (V), Endeavour and Velsheda - are the only survivors of the legendary J-Class craft which dominated the sport during the 1930s. Ian Dear, the yachting historian, encapsulated the sheer glamour of the J-Class yachts 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."
Of the ten original yachts, three – miraculously – have somehow survived until today and all of them are shown here as they jockey for position during the Royal Southern Yacht Club's Match in the Solent on 10th August 1935. Additionally, the work shows the American yacht Yankee, owned by Gerard B. Lambert of Park Avenue, New York, as well as the King's own beloved Britannia, this race being the latter's very last outing before King George V's death in January 1936 resulted in her being scuttled off the Isle of Wight later that same year.