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Largest maritime sale at Bonhams offers collection spanning four generations
James Edward Buttersworth (British/American, 1817-1894), The America's Cup yacht Vigilant. Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm.). Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams announces the upcoming sale of Fine Maritime Paintings and Decorative Arts to be held at the Madison Avenue salesroom on June 25. This upcoming sale is one of the largest and most historically significant maritime auctions to be presented in recent memory. Items on offer come from three noteworthy collections.

The Bartram Collection of Maritime Paintings and Nautical Antiques spans four generations of collecting and represents a snapshot of an important period in yachting history. After many years in Joseph Bartram's care, Bonhams is honored to be offering these pieces to a new generation of collectors. Bartram had a lifelong passion for yachting and was involved in numerous New York Yacht Club committees, including being active in the America's Cup syndicates, starting with the Intrepid in 1967. In the late 1960s, he created Bartram & Brakenhoff, known in the marine industry as the "Gentleman's" yacht brokerage firm.

Another important collection comes from the Independence Seaport Museum, which holds the region's primary archive of art and artifacts documenting the history of the Great Delaware Valley, the Port of Philadelphia and significant urban ports of the Delaware River. Highlighted items include several ship models, most notably the Napoleonic prisoner of war model of a 120-gun ship, the H.M.S. Caledonia (estimate $25,000-35,000). The grand and formidable ship was built during the Napoleonic Wars and was once the flagship of Admiral Pellew. The builder's model of the S.S. Berwindmoor, designed for the Berwindmoor Steamship Company circa 1910, is estimated to fetch between $10,000-15,000. A unique model of the sloop Vanitie (estimate $5,000-7,000) is attributed to the Boucher Manufacturing Company who was largely responsible for producing model ships that have been acquired by prominent yacht clubs in New York. Models by Boucher rarely come to market, and this particular item is a fine example.

Along with these venerable collections, Bonhams is also offering an important private maritime collection from Connecticut, which includes a selection of the finest works by James Edward Buttersworth and other American maritime painters. Most noteworthy in the auction are three Buttersworth masterpieces. A luminist painting of the America's Cup yacht Vigilant (estimate $200,000-300,000) captures the vessel's speed, prowess and victory in the 1893 sailing competition, skippered by its designer Nathanael Greene Herreshoff. An oil on canvas work depicting the New York packet Enterprise entering the Thames (estimate $120,000-180,000), exhibits a hazy, soft glow of the sunlight's reflection on calm waters. Also included is Buttersworth's rendering of a nail-biting race around the New York harbor, estimated to fetch $100,000-150,000.

Bonhams will be offering these valuable maritime items in New York on June 25. The public can preview the lots before auction from June 21 to 25.

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