H M YACHT VICTORIA & ALBERT, SOLENT, 1911
Alma Claude Burlton Cull (1880-1931). Watercolour, signed and dated 1911.
Standard size: 15 x 10.5 ins (38 x 26.5 cms) approx.
Price on application
This original has been sold and is no longer available.
Prints of this may be available on: Maritime Prints.
There are welcome signs that the morning mist is beginning to lift and the sun is making an attempt to burn through; the Sailing Master out on the starboard bridge wing is starting to relax as the visibility is definitely opening out a bit; the lookout up on the focsle reports that he, too, can now see further ahead .. This is possibly the most finely executed watercolour painting of Cull’s that has come this enthusiast’s way yet! Its quite beautifully painted in every sense with its pale, delicate colours and wealth of fine detail that becomes ever more apparent as the picture is closely examined. Every little feature of the Royal Yacht is there from the ornately carved bowsprit with Royal coat of arms catching a shaft of reflected light off the mirror smooth water, to the gloriously tall masts topped with huge but, today, limp Court flags; to the hull with its high gloss paintwork and burnished brass scuttles perfectly reflecting the shades of the glassy calm Solent through which the yacht is whispering. It is, quite simply, a superbly painted watercolour.
We know that Cull’s skill had caught the eye, of amongst others, HM King Edward VII by whom he was commissioned to paint several pictures, oil and watercolour. And perhaps because this Royal Yacht was, we are told, something of a favourite of successive kings first Edward VII then GeorgeV and George VI, it is not surprising that she featured in more than a few of his paintings: one other appears on this website (MP 032, the one from the wardroom of HM Yacht BRITANNIA); and in the Royal Collection there are several more of V&A aboard whom the Royal family undoubtedly found privacy and relaxation of a particularly rare and welcome nature. On the back of the “Whatman’s water colour sketching board of Half Royal size” by Winsor & Newton Ltd that Cull invariably seemed to use, can be seen faintly in pencil (though not in Cull’s hand) “VICTORIA & ALBERT III, Solent, 1911”. Despite clearly wearing Court flags and with informative speed cones hoisted at the fore, there is no evidence of an escorting warship in immediate attendance as HM's presence onboard would warrant, although closer inspection does suggest the possible outline of a warship in the haze out beyond the cutter ghosting along off the Yacht’s starboard quarter. Could it be a Monarch class battleship? The misty shape has that sort of silhouette ...........