Arthur Wellington Fowles (1815-1883)

Cambria winning the Town Cup, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 1868
oil on canvas
signed `A.W.Fowles RYDE. I of W 1869` (lower left)
28 ΒΌ x 39 in. (71.7 x 99 cm.)


Provenance: Originally commissioned by Mr. James Ashbury, the owner of Cambria, after her triumphant season in 1868.

Cambria, launched in 1868, was a new British yacht owned by Mr. James Ashbury, a member of the Royal Thames Club and a wealthy enthusiast who had made his fortune with an innovatory railway carriage. Designed and built by Michael Ratsey, she displaced 228 tons and measured 108 feet overall, with a 21 foot beam.

Winning the prestigious Town Cup at Ryde brought the momentous season of 1868 to a fitting climax for Cambria. After this, Mr. Ashbury had convinced himself that Cambria could beat anything afloat. Seizing his chance to restore the supremacy of British yachting, and thereby immeasureably improve his own rather poor social status, he decided to challenge the New York Yacht Club to a series of matches, one of which was to be for the so-called 'America's Cup' of 1870. Sadly Cambria lost, but other good seasons followed, some more successful than others. None however was to match her vintage performance in that maiden season.

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