A classic scene of a large mid-Nineteenth Century schooner at rest in the Mediterranean port painted by the Italian countryman Tomaso De Simone. The complete narrative scene around the schooner’s broadside is complemented with a British merchant steam/sail ship, local boats and the colorful sky and headland architecture of the ancient city.
The vast serenity and unspoiled life of cruising the Mediterranean Ocean is a must for pleasure yachting. No less so 150 years ago, when the British schooners of several yacht clubs are reported to have staged a long-distance race for the 1864 season. It is believed that the club burgee flying on this yacht is of the Royal Western Yacht Club, based at Queen Anne’s Battery in Portsmouth, established in 1833. At home, the schooner VINDEX earned the record as top racer, with MADCAP as the second-best yacht for a season full of events.
Atmospherically, this work is a joy, with its full headland displaying the classic buildings of the Italian port. While the American Civil War raged and the English professed neutrality, their economic and nationalistic interests lay intertwined with the Confederate South, and its cotton exports and shipping needs. While on pleasure cruises and private challenge runs, the British undoubtedly kept an eye open for the unfolding events of the American War Between the States, played out on the World’s waters.
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