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Maritime Art, Yachts, British Royal Flotilla, Pair, Antique Prints, London, c. 1760s

$5,200

Thomas Allen (act. 1756-1772) (after)
Pierre-Charles Canot (1710-1777) (engraver)
View of Harwich and the Yatchs Going Out, With Lord Anson returning the Salute from Landguard Fort
and
The Storm, When the Mary Yatch Was Laid on Her Beam Ends
[n.p. but probably John Bowles/Carington Bowles, London, n.d. but c. 1766-1767]
Hand-colored etchings on laid paper
View of Harwich: 15 x 23 inches, image; 17.25 x 24 inches, overall
The Storm: 14.75 x 22.75 inches, image; 17.5 x 24 inches, overall
$5,200, the pair

Pair of maritime views depicting scenes from the voyage of British royal yachts with accompanying British warships on their round trip in 1761 to transport Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from Germany to London to marry King George III. In the first print, the voyage starts out peacefully in the Harwich harbor, as the yachts (spelled “yatch” in the prints’ titles) and warships leave the harbor under sunny skies. The other print shows the dramatic and perilous North Sea crossing on the return trip from Germany to England, with the royal flotilla tossed by the high winds and rough seas that nearly wrecked them off the coast of Norway. In this scene, the yacht Mary III in the center has its mainsail caught up by the wind and sheets flapping loosely. The prints are dedicated to the Duke and Duchess of Ancaster and thus include in the center of the title block the family heraldic crest with the Latin motto Loyaulte me Oblige.

Product description continues below.

Description

The artist Thomas Allen is best known for his three paintings of this historical voyage. All three were subsequently etched by Pierre-Charles Canot including a third print in the set — not offered here — of the embarkation of the fleet with the princess at Stade, Germany, before her return trip to England. Examples of various of these prints are in the collections of the British Museum (which estimates publication dates as 1766-67), the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, and the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Apparently different states of these prints were issued, with variations in the title block. For example, the Mary Yatch print in the British Museum gives the publication information as follows: “Printed for Jno,, Bowles, at the Black Horse, in Cornhill & Carington Bowles, next the Chapter House in St,, Pauls Church Yard. / Price 5s.”  Another variation is the inclusion in the title block of the names of various of the ships shown in the image. The offered examples of two of the prints do not give the publisher or names of the ships, suggesting possibly an earlier state. Based on the small number of examples shown online, the prints of this set are apparently quite rare.

When George III chose Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to become his bride and queen, the largest royal yacht of the day was renamed the Royal Charlotte and sent with a squadron of five other royal yachts and six warships to assure her safe passage, under the command of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Anson. They left Harwich on August 7, 1761. The ten-day return trip survived three severe storms and came close to being wrecked on the coast of Norway, but managed to convey the young queen to England on September 6th. The morning after her arrival in England, she was brought to London, met George for the first time, and married him the following day. She was crowned as Queen two weeks later.

Thomas Allen was a British marine painter active in Greenwich and Woolwich. He is best known for his three scenes of the voyage bringing Queen Charlotte to England: View of Harwich with the Yachts Going Out, Embarcation of Queen Charlotte at Stade, and Storm During the Voyage of the Queen. He also recorded views of the Newfoundland and Portuguese coasts.

Pierre-Charles Canot was a prolific printmaker and engraver. Born in France, he worked in England, where he produced engravings, including a large number of seascapes with city views. He is well known for his prospect views of New York City published in about 1768 when it was under British control.

Dedication lower margin, View of Harwich: To their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Ancaster This View of Harwich and the Yatch’s going out, With Lord Anson returning the Salute from Landguard Fort Is most humbly Inscribed by their Graces — most devoted and Obliged Servant, Thomas Allen.

Dedication lower margin, When the Mary Yatch Was Laid on Her Beam Ends: To their Graces the Duke and Dutchess of Ancaster This Representation of the Storm Her Majesty was in, When the Mary Yatch was laid on her Beam Ends; Is most humbly Inscribed by their Graces Most Devoted and Obliged Servant, Thomas Allen.

Condition: Generally very good each recently professionally cleaned and restored, including repairs of a few short marginal tears and minor abrasions (some previously restored), with light remaining overall toning, wear, handling. Margins trimmed, as typical for separately issued prints, but present on all sides, with most of the plate marks intact.

References:

Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 1, p. 113; Vol. 2, p. 295.

van der Merwe, Pieter. “Lot 122: John Clevely.” Bonhams. 9 July 2014. https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22181/lot/122/ (12 November 2019).

“When the Mary Yatch was laid on her Beam Ends.” British Museum. 2019. https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3103054&partId=1 (12 November 2019).

Wilson, Arnold. British Marine Painters. Leigh-on-Sea, England: F. Lewis, 1967.

Additional information

Century

18th Century