Figurehead of the Friar Tuck

Basic Information

FigID
F0086
InstID
FHD0027
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead of the Friar Tuck
Vessel name
Friar Tuck
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Merchant
Copyright owner
© National Maritime Museum
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Maritime Museum
Current location
Tresco
Location date
11/02/2013

Physical Information

Description
White and gilded three-quarter length figurehead from the Liverpool tea clipper 'Friar Tuck' ,1856. It represents the fictitious friar from the English legend of Robin Hood, with a crucifix on a staff in his half-extended right hand.
Maker
Unknown
Date made
Unknown
Place made
Unknown
Size
H198 x W68.6 x D58.4 cms
Materials
Wood
Object history
Accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of Estate Duty in 1979 from Robert Arthur Dorien-Smith. The collection was begun by Augustus Smith (1806-72) who leased the islands from the Duchy of Cornwall. The figureheads in the Valhalla Collection came from vessels wrecked on Scilly.
Vessel history
The homeward bound ship was one of over 500 sailing vessels sheltering from strong winds in St Mary’s Roads, Scilly, at the end of November 1863. Six did not survive the hurricane that followed, 'Friar Tuck' among them. On 2 December she parted her cables and as she went onto Newford Island, in St Mary’s Pool, Captain Fordyce ordered her masts to be cut away. A rocket line from the shore saved her crew of 22. Three small shiploads of tea, sails, spars and some stores were taken to London but the Islanders also managed to ‘acquire’ large quantities of tea, despite the efforts of coastguards and preventive men. A lasting monument to the ‘Friar Tuck’, apart from her figurehead, are the Chinese geese on Tresco which are descendants of those which came ashore from the wreck. The ship had been a good investment for her owners with profits of £12,389 over six years. It was the prospect of such returns which induced owners to spend money on fine figureheads and other decoration for their vessels. At the time of loss: Owner: J. Beazley, Liverpool. Registered voyage: Foochow to London. Cargo: tea.
Master at loss: Fordyce. Wrecked: 2 December 1863.
Bibliography
''Valhalla 'The Tresco Ships' Figurehead Collection'' (NMM, 1984)

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
National Maritime Museum
Contact details
Royal Museums Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Ownership can be cited online
Yes
Accessible to public
Yes
Data verified by owner
Yes
Date verified

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