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A historically important Royal Presentation clock commissioned by HRH Albert Edward, Prince of Wales from the leading London jewellers Aspreys of Bond Street, holders of Royal Warrants to Queen Victoria and every subsequent British Monarch.
The gilt dial of the clock is engraved with the Prince’s Royal heraldic feathers and Aspey’s title, encased in a monumental black English marble body flanked by Corinthian capital columns surmounted by a bronze figure of Britannia seated on a Dias inset with a gilt bronze inscription ‘Britannia Old Britty G L Watson Designer’, referring affectionately to his Royal Yacht Britannia as ‘Old Britty’ which was designed by the leading naval architect of the time, George Lennox Watson.
The plinth of the clock is inset with the gilt metal plaques engraved with Queen Victoria’s Royal cypher and the words ‘Britannia Rules The Waves’, a humorous play on words making reference to British Sovereignty of the seas at that time and the Prince’s racing yacht ‘Britannia’.
Inset below is a plaque engraved:
HRH PRINCE OF WALES
TO GEORGE GOULD ESQ
IMPERIAL HOTEL MONKSTOWN
25th SEPTEMBER 1894
See following details for the yachts and race series.
GEORGE JAY GOULD
George Jay Gould (1864-1923) was an American financier and railroad executive, leading both the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Co. and the Western Pacific Railroad Co. In their drive to the Californian coast.
Vigilant, the Herreshoff designed centreboard sloop was launched in 1893 and won the Americas Cup in the same year, defeating Lord Dunraven’s yacht Valkyrie II. In 1894 she was purchased by Gould and brought to British waters to race that season. In 16 races against Britannia, the Prince of Wales’s yacht, she was defeated in 12 and this clock was presented by the Prince to commemorate the series.
GEORGE LENNOX WATSON
George Lennox Watson was a Scottish Naval Architect born in Glasgow in 1851. In 1873, at the age of 22, Watson set out to found the first Yacht Design Office and soon gained a reputation for innovative racing designs. He quickly received commissions from the yachting elite of the era including HRH Edward Prince of Wales, The Vandebilt family, the Earl of Dunraven, Sir Thomas Lipton, and Emperor Wilhem II of Germany. Some of the most important big yachts of the time came from the drawing board of Watson, including HMY Britannia, Thistle, Valkyrie II, Meteor II, Rainbow and Shamrock.
The gaff rigged cutter, HMY Britannia was designed by G L Watson of Liverpool for HRH Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and built by D & W Henderson Shipyard Ltd in 1893.
By the end of the first year’s racing, Britannia had recorded 33 wins from 43 starts and in her second year won all 7 races in the big yacht class in the French Riviera and then went on to defeat Vigilant, the 1893 American Cup winning yacht in 12 out of 16 races. During her racing career she won 231 races and took a further 129 flags.
Edward’s son, King George V continued to race his ‘Beloved Britty’ and his dying wish was that she follow him to the grave and she was scuttled in St Catherine Deep near the Isle of Wight on 10th July 1936
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