Figurehead of the HMS Harlequin

Basic Information

FigID
F0023
InstID
FHD0081
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead of the HMS Harlequin
Vessel name
HMS Harlequin
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
30/01/2013

Physical Information

Description
The half-length bust, armless figurehead of HMS 'Harlequin'. It represents the masked and capped figure of a harlequin, in traditional multi-coloured dress and with a blue cloak resting on a scroll head. Harlequin, Arlecchino, is a traditional Italian 'commedia dell'arte' figure, best known in Britain as a character in traditional pantomime of the late 18th and early 19th century.
Maker
Hellyers
Date made
1845
Place made
Portsmouth
Size
H152.4 x W58.4 x D61 cms
Materials
Wood
Object history
Designed and made by Helleyers of Portsmouth for the sum of £6.15.0. The figurehead was housed on the 1st Floor of Rigging House in the Devonport Dockyard before being presented to the NMM by the Admiralty in 1936.
Vessel history
HMS 'Harlequin' was a 16-gun brig-sloop built at Pembroke Dock in 1836. Vessel was stationed in China between 1839 - 1842, in the East Indies in 1844 and West Africa in 1851. 'Harlequin' was reduced to a coal hulk in 1860 and sold out of the Navy in 1899 to Marshall of Plymouth for breaking up. During its station in the East Indies, several naval vessels on the East Indies station were involved in anti-piracy activities in the early 1840's. In February 1844, Rajah Brooke joined HMS 'Harlequin', 'Wanderer' and the East Company steamer 'Diana', in an attack on Sekrang pirate strongholds at Batu and Murdu on the Sumatran coast. Batu was destroyed without trouble, but Murdu gave them a stiff fight. There were several casualties, among them Rajah Brooke, before the village was destroyed, with a loss of over 50 lives.
Bibliography
David Pulvertaft 'Figureheads Of The Royal Navy'(2011) p132 and p216
Admiralty Catalogue(1911) No 423

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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