Figurehead of the royal Yacht Fairy
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
This small bust female figurehead is a representation of a fairy. The three-quarter-length figure wears a white and blue/green dress and was presumably placed at the bowsprit of the yacht. The figure is crowned with long brown hair and her dress drapes down over the base of the carving.
Hellyer of Portsmouth
Presumably carved by J. E. Hellyer of Portsmouth for the sum of £4.15.0. As it was not carved at Thames where the ship was built, it was probably made in Portsmouth and added to the ship at a later date. When the ship was broken up the figurehead was placed in the care of Portsmouth Dockyard for preservation. The first record of the figurehead is in the Dockyard Museum Catalogue of 1911.
The Royal Yacht 'Fairy' was an iron steam yacht, 312bm, 145ft built on the Thames by Ditchburn and Mare of Blackwall. Launched from the same site in March 1845 she served as companion to the Royal Yacht ‘Victoria and Albert’. As a small yacht 'Fairy' was able to accompany ‘Victoria and Albert’ on royal cruises through the West Country. Her service ended after almost twenty years and she was broken up at Portsmouth in 1868.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.72
National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, HM Naval Base (PP66), Portsmouth PO1 3NH
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
Data verified by owner