Figurehead of the HMS Madagascar
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Photo: © National Museum of the Royal Navy
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
The figurehead is presumed to have been a bust with intricate tropical fruit carving on the trailboards. The African male nude figure was designed by Edward Hellyer & Son in 1812 and forwarded to be made for the sum of £6. All that survives is the head after an incident with a bonfire in Brazil in the 1860s.
Wood - Teak
The ship was broken up in 1863 in Brazil when the figurehead was probably removed. When in possession of an unknown individual in Brazil after this period (1860’s) the figurehead was involved in an incident where someone attempted to burn it in a bonfire. Only the head could be saved.
The HMS 'Madagascar' was built in Bombay for the East India Company and was launched in November 1822. This teak, 5th rate, 46 gun Druid class ship served in in the Mediterranean and East Indies. During the 1840s she was involved in the suppression of the slave trade by the Royal Navy. HMS 'Madagascar' returned to Plymouth in 1846 and became a provision depot, then later in 1853 she was moved to Rio de Janeiro and became a receiving ship before being broken up in 1863.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.42
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