Regatta of the New York Yacht Club, June 1st, 1854: "Coming In" -- Rounding the Stake Boat

Drawn on stone by Charles Parsons American
Lithographed and published by Nathaniel Currier American

Not on view

Marine views and pictures of ships have long appealed to collectors and popular taste. Undoubtedly, however, this print was made with the well-to-do members of the New York Yacht Club as the intended prospective purchasers.The New York Yacht Club was founded in 1844 by nine prominent sportsmen, who elected James Cox Stevens as the private club's first Commodore. They made their first sail from New York City to Newport, Rhode Island. On June 6, 1848, the Club's first annual regatta took place, thereby launching a tradition of yacht racing and an annual regatta that has occurred almost every year since (except during wartime).

This print, which depicts the New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta of 1854, shows a long line of yachts sailing from the left distance towards the right of the image on a fair, partly cloudy day. At the far right, the yacht "Una" is going around a small stake boat (that is, a moored boat marking a turning point in the race), which has the United States flag flying atop its mast. The scene is further animated by four seagulls flying above the water in the lower left foreground. Keyed beneath the image are the names of the identified boats: "Alpha," "L'Esperance," "Twilight," plus additional names, with the the name "Una" appearing at the far right -- its placement identifying the lead vessel and ultimate winner. As recorded in the Club archives: "On the 1st of June, 1854, fourteen yachts were entered and started, and the prizes awarded to the Una, L.M. Rutherford, first class; Ray, F.M. Ray, second class; L'Esperance, W. Langdon, third class."

Nathaniel Currier, whose successful New York-based lithography firm began in 1835, produced more than 7,000 hand-colored prints in various sizes that together create a vivid panorama of mid-to-late nineteenth century American life and its history. People eagerly acquired such lithographs featuring picturesque scenery, rural and city views, ships, railroads, portraits, hunting and fishing scenes, domestic life and numerous other subjects, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments. As the firm expanded, Nathaniel included his younger brother Charles in the business. In 1857, James Merritt Ives (the firm's accountant since 1852 and Charles's brother-in-law) was made a business partner; subsequently renamed Currier & Ives, the firm continued until 1907.

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