In August 2001 the Americas Cup Jubilee Regatta was held at Cowes, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original ‘Americas Cup’ race (then known as the Hundred Guinea Cup) staged there in 1851. The regatta attracted hundreds of classic sailing boats and racing thoroughbreds, and the culmination was a restaging of the original 1851 race of 75 nautical miles round the Isle of Wight.
The painting shows some of the participants at anchor in the glow of dawn. In the left foreground is the schooner Zaca A Te Moana, with Peter Harrison’s Americas Cup contender GBR 52 (?) in the centre. On the right is the schooner America with raked-back masts, a replica of the 1851 winner, and behind and to her left is Grand Turk, a reconstruction of the British frigate HMS Blandford (built 1741).
The artist’s command of his medium is revealed in the intense colouring of the morning sky, built up with layers of transparent pigment until the sweep of cloudless rose vibrates and merges into a plangent gold. The ships gather together in a marine conversazione beneath this heraldic sky, seemingly more animated than the tiny bundled figures which man them. This painting, as well as expressing the expectancy of early morning, also plays with ideas of time and change and mortality.
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This post was written by joecollinson