Period yacht racing is a rare and desirable subject for marine paintings, and a 19TH Century work from Australia of this prime subject is among the rarest finds we may offer. The artist, Charles F. Gerrard, shows up in 1882 on the Sydney professional trade list as a painter, then as a marine artist and finally as simply ‘artist’. He exhibits his first works with the Royal Art Society in Sydney in 1884, consisting of coastal scenes. He is extremely well received by his contemporaries according to newspaper reports.
The recognizable features of “The Rocks”, along the western shore of Sydney cove near the harbor bridge, stands forth as a superb background for the racing yachts. This historic location is the foundation of the British Australian empire, and today is the oldest preserved colonial district in the country, described as “Sydney’s outdoor museum”.
Fine-lined cutter yachts compete over a sailing course, with two shown in great close detail while five more hold their positions in the regatta, as the rhythmic small swells are evidence the wind favors the leaders running on close reaches with the crossing tide. The crew and yachts are very much in the British formal yachting manner, with full uniforms and the plum-bow hulls. Note that there is one crew attired in red, possibly a naval marine team, and the sail steam ship anchored in the center flies the Australian Colonial Ensign proudly.