On the death of Prince Albert in 1861, the yacht was left untouched on the orders of Victoria, who even refused to install a modern screw-powered replacement until compelled to do so by the yacht’s increasing obsolescence in the mid-1890s.
The vessel’s last official voyage carried the monarch to and from her visit to Ireland in April 1900, by which time a new yacht was fitting out to replace her. In the event, Queen Victoria died before the third Victoria & Albert could be commissioned.
The 17½in x 2ft 11in (45 x 90cm) oil on canvas shows the vessel floating in the Solent and was painted in 1873 by George Mears (1826-1906). With some old retouching in the sea but otherwise in good condition, it sold for £7000 on November 5 at London marine and maritime specialist Charles Miller (24% buyer’s premium).
Elsewhere, a pair of 19th century watercolours by Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821) showing an engagement between HMS Northumberland and a French squadron in May 1812 found a buyer at £5500. Two 20th century watercolours of sailing boats by John Chancellor (1925-84) bettered guides to sell for a combined £6800.
The star of the sale was a hitherto unknown portrait of Nelson, which sold three times the top estimate at £15,000.