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Figurehead of the Steam Yacht Sunbeam
D6046_1
basic info
FigID
F0047
InstID
FHD0106
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead of the Steam Yacht Sunbeam
Vessel name
Steam Yacht Sunbeam
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 info
Description
Gold-painted half-length figurehead of Thomas Brassey's steam yacht 'Sunbeam' ,1874, representing a female angel, looking upwards and forwards with hands crossed on the breast. It is based on Brassey’ s daughter Constance Alberta, whose nickname was 'Sunbeam'. Born on 18 February 1868 she died of scarlet fever, aged four, on 24 January 1873 and the 531-ton luxury yacht, launched the following year, commemorates her in both its name and with the figurehead.
Maker
Bowdler Chafter & Co.
Date made
1874
Place made
Seacombe
Size
H165 x W63.5 x D63.5 cms
Materials
Wood: Pine
Object history
Figurehead was previously housed in Manor House, Apethorpe, Peterborough before being presented to the NMM by Lady Brassey of 9 The Gateways, Chelsea, London, S.W.3, in October of 1973.
Vessel history
It is based on Brassey’ s daughter Constance Alberta, whose nickname was 'Sunbeam'. Born on 18 February 1868 she died of scarlet fever, aged four, on 24 January 1873 and the 531-ton luxury yacht, launched the following year, commemorates her in both its name and with the figurehead. Brassey (1836-1918), son of Thomas senior the railway contractor, was a Liberal politican with a particular interest in naval matters. He was Civil Lord of the Admiralty in 1880-84 and governor of Victoria, Australia, 1895-1900. Knighted in 1881 he became a baron in 1886, the year he inaugurated the celebrated 'Brassey's Naval Annual', and Earl Brassey in 1911. His wife Annie (1839-87) was a passionate traveller and a writer on travelling, whose best-selling 'Voyage of the Sunbeam' (1878) records their 11-month family voyage round the world in 1876-77. As HM Yacht 'Liberty', 'Sunbeam' was later used as a hospital ship in the First World War: Norman Wilkinson's painting of her in this role was formerly on loan to the Museum.
Bibliography
"A Voyage in the Sunbeam" - Lady Brassey 1878
"The Last Voyage" - Lord Brassey, 1887, Longmans
"Sunbeam R.Y.S." - Earl Brassey, 1917, John Murray
Ownership info
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