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Figurehead HMS Seringapatam
F0044 Figureheads - HMS Seringpatam - FHD0102
basic info
FigID
F0044
InstID
FHD0102
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead HMS Seringapatam
Vessel name
HMS Seringapatam
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Naval
Copyright owner
© National Maritime Museum
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Maritime Museum
Current location
On display in the Traders Gallery, NMM
Location date
31/01/2013
physical info
Description
Figurehead of HMS 'Seringapatam'. The seated turbanned figure is, perhaps erroneously, presumed to represent Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore, riding on a roc - a mythical bird of great strength. The upper part of the body is unclothed, more like an elephant mahout, with the right arm raised to support a sun umbrella made of metal. The umbrella, normally born by attendants, is both a practical accoutrement and a symbol of the status of the person sheltered. Tipu was the son and successor of Haidar Ali, Sultan of Mysore, both having a long and bloody antagonism to the extension of British rule in India. Tipu's capital of Seringapatam was finally stormed in 1799 by troops under Sir David Baird, who had also fought his father, when his body was discovered shot through the head under a pile of his supporters'. One of the famous items in the Victoria and Albert Museum is the automaton known as 'Tipoo's tiger' - a large clockwork-driven carved toy comprising a wooden tiger savaging a British soldier, which also originally emitted mechanical growls and screams: this was part of the booty taken from Tipu's palace. This piece is also Indian work.
Maker
Bombay Dockyard
Date made
1819
Place made
Bombay
Size
H167.6 x W114.3 x D157.5 cms
Materials
Wood: Teak. Copper, Iron
Object history
Figurehead was presented to the NMM by the Admiralty in 1936, having previously been stored in Fire Engine House, Devonport.
Vessel history
HMS 'Seringapatam' a 46-gun, 5-rate frigate built for the Navy in India, at Bombay Dockyard, in 1819. She became a receiving ship in 1847 and in 1852 a coal hulk at the Cape of Good Hope, where she was broken up in 1873.
Bibliography
Admiralty Catalogue (1911) No 454
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