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Figurehead of the HMS Sybille
Sybille large
basic info
FigID
F0279
InstID
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead of the HMS Sybille
Vessel name
HMS Sybille
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Naval
Copyright owner
© UK MoD Crown Copyright 1983
Copyright notes
Photo: © UK MoD Crown Copyright 1983
Current location
Plymouth Naval Base Museum
Location date
28/03/2013
physical info
Description
A female standing figure wearing a white dress and blue cloak. Her arms are folded behind her back. Sibyl was a mythical woman, said to express her oracles in riddles, and it was from a painting of Lady Hamilton dressed as Sibyl that the figurehead is claimed to have been based.
Maker
Hellyer
Date made
1846
Place made
Portsmouth
Size
Materials
Wood
Object history
Designed by Hellyer for the sum of £18, the three-quarter-length bust was taken into the Devonport collection after the ship was taken to pieces there in 1866 but in the 1950s was transferred to HMS Sea Eagle in Londonderry. She remained there in what later became the army's Ebrington Barracks until 2003 when she returned to the Plymouth Naval Base Museum. The Hellyer design was only ordered by the Surveyor of the Navy after an earlier figurehead carved by Frederick Dickerson had been declared to be 'badly carved and out of all proportion'. the design had been submitted in colour in 1844 but clearly the workmanship was not as good as the artistry.
Vessel history
A 5th rate, 36 gun ship launched at Pembroke Dock in 1847. Her boats’ crew played an active role in the capture of Canton during the Second China War and the action is Fatshan Creek. In 1858 she returned to the United Kingdom and was broken up in 1866 at Plymouth.
Bibliography
David Pulvertaft 'Figureheads Of The Royal Navy' (Seaforth 2011) p.141 and p. 142
Admiralty Catalogue (1911) No. 460
Ownership info
Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
Plymouth Naval Base Museum
Contact details
HM Naval Base, Devonport
Ownership can be cited online
Yes
Accessible to public
By appointment
Data verified by owner
No
Date verified