Female figurehead - unidentified ('crowned Spanish lady')

Basic Information

FigID
F0046
InstID
FHD0105
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Female figurehead - unidentified ('crowned Spanish lady')
Vessel name
Unidentified Spanish Vessel
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Naval
Copyright owner
© National Maritime Museum
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Maritime Museum
Current location
On display in Neptune Court, NMM
Location date
31/01/2013

Physical Information

Description
Figurehead of Spanish two-decker. Female head wearing a crown. Removed by officers of HMS 'Sirius'.
Maker
Unknown
Date made
Unknown
Place made
Unknown
Size
H76.2 x W45.7 x D40.6 cms
Materials
Wood: Pine; Lead paint
Object history
Removed from a Spanish vessel at Fernando Po in 1869. The figurehead was then housed in HMS Ganges, Shotley, before being transferred to the NMM by The Admiralty in July 1965.
Vessel history
The figurehead is from a Spanish two-decker, reputed to have fought at Trafalgar and escaped.
In 1869 the ship was being employed as a hulk for political prisoners at Fernando Po. In October of that year, whilst HMS 'Sirius' was stationed at Fernando Po, four young officers, Sub-Lts Gardiner and Henry Backler, Midshipman A.F.H. Drayson and Assistant Surgeon James C. Dunlop, decided to remove the figurehead. At night, and in a gale, the four went out in a dinghy, two armed with a two-handed saw, climbed the cable and worked whilst two remained in the dinghy. Eventually the head dropped into the sea and was towed to the 'Sirius', which sailed within a few hours for the Cape. The head was kept in the gun room until the end of the commission when it was removed to Midshipman Drayson's home in Southhampton.
Gardiner was drowned in the China sea and Dunlop and Backler had died, so the figurehead remained in Drayson's possession until he died in his 95th year in February 1945.
Bibliography

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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