‘Preparing for the Yachting Season’

‘Preparing for the yachting season’ by Lancelot Speed

Lancelot Speed was a well known Victoria illustrator of books, with much of his commercial work being of figures and scenes from myth and legend, and Arthurian legend in particular. He was also a keen sailor, and a number of the cruises taken with his brother Harry are described in Cruises in Small Yachts, by H. Fiennes Speed. The second edition, published in 1926, included a number of additional illustrations by Lancelot, as well as More Cruises, by Maude Speed.

The illustration shown above, by Lancelot Speed, was published in the April 4th 1925 edition of The Graphic, an illustrated weekly newspaper of the era that was quite influential in the art world and served as a vehicle for some quite accomplished artists and illustrators.

The sub-text reads,

At Burnham-on-Crouch, London’s nearest and chief yachting port, there is much feverish activity in fitting out in time for Easter. It is evident that small yacht sailing is steadily gaining favour, and it is possible that this summer the fleet of pleasure craft in the river may approach the amazing total of 1085, just before the War, lying afloat between Fambridge and Burnham. To-day the water-front, as the drawing shows, is alive with yacht hands, toiling in a confusion of ropes and wire, blocks, sails, mooring anchors, dinghies, binnacles and other gear: but very shortly all will be spick and span, and the fleet ready to sail.

The picture shows a yacht named Curlew being hoisted by the Stebbings crane, and the London Sailing Club clubhouse can be seen clearly in the background.

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