Figurehead of the HMS Polyphemus
© National Maritime Museum
Photo: © National Maritime Museum
On display in Neptune Court, NMM
Pine figurehead depicting the head of the mythological one-eyed giant Cyclops, blinded by Odysseus (Ulysses) in Homer's 'Odyssey' . It is finished with black oil paint and weighs 63 kilograms.
H83.8 x W68.6 x D61 cms
Wood: Pine; Lead paint
Figurehead was housed at Chatham Dockyard, until it was presented to the NMM by the Admiralty in December 1955
The ship was a 64-gun third-rate built at Sheerness Dockyard in 1782. 'Polyphemus' captured the French ship 'Tortue', one of the French vessels sent to land troops in Ireland in 1797. The vessel was involved in the battle of Trafalgar 1805, and part of the blockading squadron at the Saintes. She was converted to a powder hulk in 1813 and was finally broken up in 1827.
Admiralty Catalogue(1911) No 207
National Maritime Museum
Royal Museums Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
Data verified by owner