Richard Firth (British, born 1954)
AMERICAN YACHT VIGILANT RACING AGAINST THE KING’S YACHT BRITANNIA ON THE SOLENT OFF THE ROYALYACHTSQUADRON
Oil on canvas, 18” x 27”
Signed, inscribed verso
The Rhode Island-built Vigilant won the eighth America’s Cup in 1893 for the United States, defeating Valkyrie II. Owned by a syndicate including August Belmont Jr. and Cornelius Vanderbilt, she later was purchased by Howard Gould and became the first America’s Cup defender to sail in Europe during the British yachting season. HMY Britannia was built in 1893 for Edward, Prince of Wales, later to be crowned King Edward VII. In her first year of racing, she won 33 of 43 starts. The Britannia and Vigilant squared off in the Mount’s Bay Regatta on July 28, 1894, piloted by two brothers: Benjamin Nicholls aboard the Vigilant and Phillip Nicholls of Britannia. The Britannia won by seven minutes. In 16 races against each other, the Britannia won 12. After the death of King George V, Edward’s son, Britannia was towed near the Isle of Wright and sunk by the HMS Winchester, in accordance with the monarch’s wishes.