Scott Houston McBee (born 1962)

Gouache and India ink on paper


Reference #: EP1247


Built by Burmeister & Wain, Copenhagen, Denmark

Launched in 1895

Length: 370 feet

Width: 50 feet 8 inches

Top speed: 21.18 knots

Complement: 355


The Standart was the family yacht of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, and during her heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the largest of her kind. Construction began in 1893 by order of Emperor Alexander III; fittingly for the Russian imperial family, she was outfitted with full electricity (over 1000 lamps), ornate fixtures, mahogany and cherry wood paneling, crystal chandeliers, and walls covered pressed leather, cretonne and silk that turned the vessel into a floating palace. The ship was manned and operated by a crew from the Russian Imperial Navy.

The Russian Imperial Family was vacationing on the Standart during the summer of 1914 when they received the news of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. With the outbreak of World War I, Standart was placed in drydock and decommissioned in 1918. Later, she was converted into a naval warship and played an important role defending Leningrad during World War II.

In creating each work, Scott McBee enlarges the original builder’s plan onto a piece of graphite paper. The outline of ship is thereafter transferred onto the work. He then completes the outline in India ink, which is both waterproof and fade-proof. McBee then applies three coats of gouache. In the same process as shipbuilding, he begins by painting the hull and working from the keel up. The ship’s name marks the end of the painting process. Each work takes approximately three weeks to complete.


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