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Figurehead of the Bernardo
F0104 A Figurehead - Bernardo - FHD0053
basic info
FigID
F0104
InstID
FHD0053
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead of the Bernardo
Vessel name
Bernardo
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Merchant
Copyright owner
© National Maritime Museum
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Maritime Museum
Current location
Tresco
Location date
12/02/2013
physical info
Description
Polychrome figurehead which (though not completely certain) appears to represent St Bernard of Clairvaux at half-length, with a crown in the form of a building - presumably his abbey - holding a pastoral staff in the right hand, and set within the scroll of a billet-head.
Maker
Unknown
Date made
Unknown
Place made
Unknown
Size
H114.3 x W34.3 x D43.2 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 figurehead comes from the Italian wooden barque 'Bernardo', which was blown ashore on Annett, Isles of Scilly, in 1888 after her sails had been carried away by a north-westerly gale. The crew managed to launch a boat but this was overturned, drowning all eleven seamen. Only Captain Dapelo was left on the ‘Bernardo’ and as his ship began to break up he had to swim. The sole survivor, he reached the Old Woman Rock where he was able to hold on until rescued by a fishing boat. This is the second figure in the collection which is incorporated into the design of the billet-head, the other being an unidentified female figurehead (FHD0025).

‘Bernardo’ details at time of wreck. Wooden barque of 701 tons, registered in Genoa. Built by A. Rollo, Varazze, 1876. Dimensions (in feet and tenths): 152.8 x 30.5 x 21.0. Owner: G. B. Degregori, Camogli. Registered voyage: Alicante to Cardiff. Cargo: in ballast. Master at loss: Dapelo. Wrecked: 11 March 1888.
Bibliography
Ownership info
Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
National Maritime Museum
Contact details
Royal Museums Greenwich, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF.
Ownership can be cited online
Yes
Accessible to public
Yes
Data verified by owner
Yes
Date verified