Unique Riva ‘Aquarama’ model
Price Code: £££££
John Elwell (English, born 1949)
A superbly referenced and unique, hand-built sculptural model of a Riva ‘Aquarama’ of approximately 1:6 scale, beautifully proportioned and based on the variant of the iconic Carlo Riva-designed motorboat or ‘runabout’ produced between 1972 and 1996. The aluminum body, in John’s signature riveted construction, features hand carved detailing including pennant masts, vents, handrails and cleats, and port and starboard ‘lights’ and to the rear is the bathing step. The finely detailed cockpit with cream seats with latticed backs, reflect the Aquarama’s deserved position as the embodiment of all things glamorous. A unique, one-off piece, having taken close to 1,512 hours to construct, this model is entirely made by hand and of course (as always with John’s work), will never be repeated. Signed, dated and numbered 1/1.
Length: 55 inches (140 cm)
Width: 17 inches (43 cm)
Height: 17 inches (43 cm)
Riva’s history dates back to 1842, when founder Pietro Riva began repairing fishing boats damaged in a catastrophic storm at Sarnico on Lake d’Iseo that same year. His quick efficiency and skill in repairing vessels damaged in the storm, in turn restoring the livelihoods of the region’s fisherman, won him local fame and respect. By 1900, the firm (under the stewardship of his grandson Serafino), shifted focus to the emerging interest in motor boating, a move that proved extremely successful in the 1920s and 1930s. The firm was not only producing extremely attractive looking boats, they were building vessels renowned for their speed, winning major national and international races.
By the 1950s, under Serafino’s son Carlo, Riva secured its position as a producer of luxury boats for pleasure, and it was the decade that the Florida, Olympic and the brands most popular model, the Tritone was launched, each model proving better than the last. The company’s undoubtedly most recognisable cruiser, the Aquarama was launched in 1962, with the Super Aquarama a year later, and confirmed Riva as a boat builder of such exceptional style and elegance that they surpassed anything their competitors produced. The Riva brand became a worldwide legend courted by an A-list clientele and famous owners included Peter Sellers, Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.
All images and text copyright © Pullman Gallery Ltd. 2022