Figurehead of the HMS Espiegle
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Photo: © National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
HMS 'Espiegle’s' name takes its origins from the french, L’Espiègle meaning ‘frolicsome’. The female, three-quarter-length figure wears a green full length dress with blue and gold details. On her wrists are carved gold, jewel encrusted bangles. She also wears a domino mask, the type worn for masquerades.
HMS 'Espiegle' was built and launched at Sheerness Dockyard in 1900. One of the last Royal Naval ships designed to carry sail and have a figurehead. Between 1902 and 1904 she served on the China Station. In 1905-1910 she became a training ship at Dartmouth. In 1914 she saw service in the Persian Gulf, gaining a battle honour for Mesopotamia. In 1923 she was sold in Bombay.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.94
National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, HM Naval Base (PP66), Portsmouth PO1 3NH
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Accessible to public
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