An important moment sliced from the annuals of American yachting, this moment by James E. Buttersworth captures the Schooner ESTELLE leading an Atlantic regatta. We strongly feel it is a visual commemoration of the yacht's victory in the New York Yacht Club regatta of 1877, where 14 schooners and three sloops set out from Glen Cove to New London, in pursuit of a sweepstakes prize put up N.Y.Y.C. Commodore S. Nicholson Kane. In the light and varied breeze, ESTELLE won the primary leg of the racing cruise, followed by the Schooner CLYTIE. The entire cruising fleet, over a period of several days, visited and raced between Shelter Island, Block Island, Newport, Vineyard Haven and held events in New Bedford harbor before again sailing on to Newport.
ESTELLE was built in 1874 by J. Richards of Norwalk, Connecticut and was owned by J.D. Smith of the Atlantic and New York Yacht Clubs. ESTELLE often faced C.J. Osborn's DREADNAUGHT and John R. Pratt's CLIO, both built by the Poillon Brothers Brooklyn Yard, along with the aforementioned CLYTIE in many races in the late 1870s. The regattas of that era had become highly organized affairs from their casual roots of recreational cruising, and were accompanied by the first of the elegant steam yachts to emerge in the clubs.
Buttersworth frequently accepted commissions from many of the era's most important yachtsmen, who wished to preserve their seasonal victories. The sharp details and gracefully drawn hull lines of the schooner yacht are well represented, as the fleet chases her under a clouded but bright sky. An American square-rigger and early steam yacht are present as well. The textured application of oil brings forth ESTELLE's speed and presence in a realistic first-person view from this important American artist.
Provenance: Private Collection of Rudolph J. Schaefer, Author of the Definitive Book on the Artist, By Descent to William Schaefer, His Son.
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