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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Brilliant, Barnum & Appleton


Here's a rare image of Brilliant, design #12, with her original rig configuration, which has been simplified over time. But let's not stop there with rare images. Here she is at the yard of Henry Nevins just out of the shed and awaiting her masts. It looks like her main mast is in but not rigged and she is about to have her foremast installed.


A couple of launch day images follow here.


This very interesting image appears to have been snapped on the day of her launch and was probably taken during her shakedown sail off of City Island with spectators watching. She was launched in 1931.


Brilliant was owned and built for Walter Barnum as can be gleaned from a previous posting and many other sources. Interestingly one of Barnum's regular crew members was an amateur model maker named Joseph Wheeler Appleton. His work is highly regarded, though a very limited number of his models were built or exist today.

Appleton built a model of Brilliant for Barnum as a gift. Here is an image of the model with Barnum (left) and the model maker Appleton (on right).


The quality of this model is legendary. Researching it on the Internet I came across this article about the model where Christie's estimated her auction value at between $40,000 - $60,000 in 2009. I have no idea what the model actually sold for.

In 2010 the International Yacht Restoration School amassed a collection of 10 Appleton models in an excellent exhibit. There is a good article about the man and the models in their publication, Restoration Quarterly which can be accessed by clicking here (one must scroll through the magazine to find it but it's worth the effort).

Finally here is a great image of Appleton himself, relaxing in the cockpit of Brilliant. Life looks pretty good.


We owe these fine and rare images (and many more) to Tom Nye of City Island, who is a great historian of City Island, a big fan of Sparkman & Stephens and a regular blog reader. Thank you very much Tom, and I enjoy our correspondence.

1 comment:

  1. Bruce
    If you look at the link you so thoughtfully provided the model of Brilliant realised $80,500 including buyers premium. One could buy a full size S&S design for that - though perhaps she wouldn't be quite so large or well known as Brilliant
    Henry Clay

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