Figurehead of the HMS Centurion
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Photo: © National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
This is a representation of a classical warrior in scaled armour and helmet. On the breast plate there is a carved lion’s head in gold. The armour is belted at the waist of the bust in gold and red. The fluted sleeves are also trimmed with gold. Underneath the armour the warrior wears a ruffled collar shirt. The helmet is black with gold detail. What is unusual about this male bearded bust is that it was designed to stand bolt upright on the ship’s bow. This is uncommon in figurehead design and unique for the NMRN collection, where the carving now resides.
First recorded in Dockyard Museum’s 1911 catalogue.
HMS 'Centurion', a battleship of 10,500 tons and 360ft was built and launched at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1892. In 1894 she became the flagship on the China Station. Her crew took an active role during the Boxer Rebellion between 1897 and 1900. In 1901 the ship returned to Portsmouth and was refitted. At this time the figurehead was removed.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.92
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