Royal Yacht William and Mary 1694.

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    Laurence Blundell

      Apologies if this has been covered before,but a recent internet search revealed an interesting depiction of the 1694 royal yacht William and Mary,by the marine artist Thomas Baston,painted in 1696,and sold recently by the Vallejo Maritime Gallery in California (See link below).

      Details on the rear of the painting indicate the provenance of the work,and relate to the dedication in the top left corner of the work.Sir Charles H.S.Rich,Bart, became the owner of Devizes Castle in around 1896.

      The vessel clearly shows three guns on the port side,with another gun which can just about be made out,poking through between the shrouds at the aft end of the main channel.Both Gavin,and Dalton note the William and Mary being fitted with eight guns.It is interesting to compare the rigging depicted with the Sutherland drawing of 1717,and that of the ketch rigged model at Trinity House Hull,and the rigging on the (Henry Culver restored) yacht model in the Museé National de la Marine in Paris.The contrast level of one of the images has been increased to bring out some of the details in the rigging.

      Another ketch rigged yacht is shown in Baston’s painting.Again,both Gavin and Dalton note that the William and Mary often sailed in company with the Fubbs and that the Fubbs never sailed alone. However,the second yacht appears to have a similar number of guns as the William and Mary so the painting may have been a depiction of the Isabella of 1683.Perhaps a certain allowance for artistic license may be needed here.Thomas Baston,known as a printmaker,painter and draughtsman produced a number of marine art works that are held in a number of collections,some of which can be found online.He died in about 1730.

      Many thanks are due to the Vallejo Maritime Gallery,for their help and for granting permission to use the images.

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      Effie Moneypenny

        Hello Laurence,

        Thank you for drawing my attention to the recent sale of this beautiful drawing. I have been aware of this print for some time but had not noticed that one had come up for sale.

        I can confirm that it almost certainly a depiction of the Royal yacht William and Mary of 1694 and cannot be either Isabella nor Fubbs, each of which have several distinctive features which differentiate them from this yacht. Identification based on the number of guns is problematic, particularly if ports are relied on, since many of these were ‘false’ or temporarily blocked up with decorated ‘tampions’. Furthermore I am reliably informed by Frank Fox that the actual issue of guns does not always tally with the establishment during this period. The yacht masting is of an earlier 17th century form which you will be able to see if you carefully follow the run of the masts when comparing this image with the Sutherland image you have referred to.

        There are very few known images of this vessel and this is one of the most complete. Unfortunately it is not known what level of authenticity can be accepted from a Bastion drawing. Others do not exhibit a similar reliable degree of authenticity.

        Regarding the Isabella identification I can refer you to a recent MM paper: Moneypenny, K. and D. P. Bucur, ‘The Royal Yacht Isabella of 1683: Identification and principal dimensions’. Mariner’s Mirror 102:4, (2016), 400-416

        Best wishes

        Effie Moneypenny
        Stuart Yacht Research Group

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