Skinner Auctions
Skinner AuctionsMarlborough MA
August 13, 2022 10:00 AMCalender

Manuscript Journal of the Yacht Cleopatra's Barge on a Voyage of Pleasure

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Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 4235MLocation: MarlboroughDate / Time: August 13, 2022 10:00AM


Manuscript Journal of the Yacht Cleopatra's Barge on a Voyage of Pleasure, Vol. I, March 30, 1817 to October 3, 1817. journal bound in red Morocco boards with gilt stampings, 246 pages including twenty-two watercolor, pen and ink, and pencil illustrations of harbors, towns, and landscapes encountered on the journey; with original leather slipcover, George Crowninshield letter book spanning 1816-1817, 1913 privately printed The Story of George Crowninshield's Yacht Cleopatra's Barge on a Voyage of Pleasure to the Western Islands and the Mediterranean 1816-1817, manuscript ht. 9 3/4 wd. 8 in.

Provenance: The provenance of the Journal is described in a letter from Francis Appleton to Bertram Little, November 25, 1949. Apparently after George Crowninshield, Jr's death in 1817, the Journal passed to his daughter, Sarah Crowninshield, and eventually to her only surviving child John P.R. Sherman. John P.R. Sherman was a second cousin to Francis H. Appleton, Jr's. father, Francis H. Appleton, and when Sherman died all of his property passed to Francis H. Appleton and then upon his death in 1939 to Francis H. Appleton, Jr. until it was sold by Appleton Jr. to Bertram Little in December 1949.

Note: George Crowninshield Jr. (1766-1817) commissioned the Salem, Massachusetts, ship builder, Retire Becket, in the spring of 1916 to build a hermaphrodite brig of over 192 tons at a cost of $50,000. Cleopatra's Barge was launched on October 21, 1916 and immediately attracted the attention of the residents of Salem who over the course of the following winter turned out to see the splendor and opulence of America's first grand pleasure yacht. the yacht set sail on March 30, 1817 visiting Flores, Fayal, Funchal, Tangier, Gibraltar, Malaga, Cartagena, Mahon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Toulon, Genoa, Leghorn, Elba, and Civita Vecchia. At each port local residents and sightseers flocked to see the vessel and inspect it rich interior spaces. The voyage concluded on October 3, 1817 when Cleopatra's Barge arrived back in Salem. This was the only pleasure voyage of the yacht as George Crowninshield died less than two months later on November 26, 1817. Soon thereafter the yacht's furnishings were removed and distributed among Crowninshield's family and the boat sold at auction in July 1818 for $15,400 and was fitted up as a merchant vessel sailing to Rio de Janeiro laden with hides, sugar, coffee, and tapiocas. Over the next two years the ship served as a packet ship sailing between Boston and Charleston, South Carolina, before venturing to the Sandwich Islands laden with good to be traded with the Hawaiian islanders. Upon anchoring in Lahaina roads on November 6, 1820, King Liholiho purchased the barge to be used as the Hawaiian royal yacht. On April 5, 1824 the yacht wrecked near the shore of Hanalei.
Property from the Estate of Warren M. Little.
Estimate $75,000-100,000

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Jr, John P.R. Sherman, Francis H. Appleton, George Crowninshield, Sarah Crowninshield, Warren M. Little, Flores, Appleton Jr., Bertram Little, Fayal, George Crowninshield , Jr, Barcelona, Cartagena, Charleston, Civita Vecchia, Elba, Genoa, Leghorn, Gibraltar, Mahon, Malaga, Marseilles, Morocco, Rio de Janeiro, Tangier, Toulon