Figurehead of the HMS Cruizer
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Photo: © National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
This bust figurehead is the representation of sailor. The bearded male figure wears a sennit hat and blue sailor’s uniform, with medals on the left breast and gold button details.
Hellyer & Son
In the original sketch by Hellyer & Son of Portsmouth the sailor was drawn as a demi-head, one arm down to the side holding his hat and the other raised, gesturing in salute. However, the Surveyor of the navy preferred a bust head without arms as it was cheaper at £6.10.0 rather than £9.10.0. Having lost the sailor's hat with his right arm, the carver naturally put it on his head where it remains today. The figurehead remained in Malta after the ship was broken up in 1912. In 1942 during a bombing of Malta the fort where the figurehead was housed was badly damaged. The figurehead survived and was transported back to Portsmouth in 1942, following British forces withdrawal from the island in 1978. At Portsmouth he was exhibited with HMS 'Caradoc’s' figurehead at the parade entrance and then next to HMS 'Victory'. The figurehead is now in storage at Portsmouth Dockyard Museum.
HMS 'Cruizer', a wood screw sloop was built and launched from Deptford Dockyard in 1852. 'Cruizer' was involved in the bombardment of present day Helsinki in 1855 during the Baltic campaign against Russia, also the action at Fatshan Creek in 1857. She is listed as Cruiser from 1857. In 1867 after a brief period out of service 'Cruizer' was stationed in the Mediterranean acting as a sail training ship. The ship was renamed HMS 'Lark' in 1893 and remained in service before been sold and broken up in Malta in 1912.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.82
National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, HM Naval Base (PP66), Portsmouth PO1 3NH
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