Untitled Document
Yachts Racing - James E. Buttersworth
  (1 of 1 works)  
James E. Buttersworth
"Yachts Racing" , ca. 1860
Oil on canvas
14 x 22 inches
Signed lower right
MME Fine Art Enlarge


Charles Sessler Philadelphia, PA

Mr. Newlin F. Davis, Philadelphia, PA

Private Collection Upstate New York

Yachts Racing depicts two sloops challenging each other for the lead on the upwind leg of a race. A sense of speed is created by directing focus towards the voluminous sails and the bright wake line in the dark water. Background details give the scene context but do not detract from the action of the race. This work demonstrates the delicate touch and intrinsic drama that characterizes Buttersworth’s best work.

Although it is impossible to say with certainty, the precise setting for Yachts Racing is likely The Narrows, the passage between New York’s Upper and Lower Bays. This channel, with Staten Island on the western shore and Brooklyn on the eastern shore, is spanned by the present-day Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Sitting at a strategic point overlooking the entrance to New York Harbor, The Narrows had long been the site of military encampments, with Fort Wadsworth on the Staten Island side, and Fort Hamilton on the Brooklyn side. Repeatedly used, refurbished, and reused in a series of wars, the number, form and layout of buildings at these sites changed – sometimes drastically – over the years, making it difficult to confirm their identity. However the hilly terrain and lack of extensive development of the landmass at left strongly suggests it may be Staten Island.