Figurehead from an 80-gun 3rd rate, formerly the French 'Franklin'. A bust-length Figurehead representing a classical warrior in a plumed helmet, from HMS 'Canopus'. Inscription reads: 'Canopus'.
Figurehead of HMS 'Royal George' in the form of a bust of George IV in Roman armour, crowned with a laurel wreath. Probably all that remains of a very large, full sized figurehead.
Bust-length polychrome-painted figurehead of 'HMS 'Daring', representing a naval seaman with his arms crossed, in contemporary dress and wearing a straw hat. The name 'Daring' is inscribed on the cap ribbon and across his chest under the folded arms. There is an anchor badge, possibly for a leading seaman, on his left arm. Although he appears to be wearing uniform, it can only have been a customary one since their was no official Royal Naval uniform for ratings until 1857.
Half-length polychrome female bust figurehead of HMS 'Daphne', wearing green garment with red and brown sash at waist. A large gold star adorns the centre of her waist.
A yellow-ochre painted female head which formed the figurehead of HMS 'Bristol'. The original figurehead was a three quarter length bust of which the head and neck has survived.
Wooden figurehead from HMS 'Serpent' (1887). The figurehead depicts an Indian snake charmer and is finished with polychrome oil paint: its head, hand and most of one side are missing is the National maritime Museum part(left half). However, the right half of the figurehead was sighted in Spain by David Pulvertaft in 2003. It indicates the complete figure was a bearded man in a cap with a white robe and red sash.
The female figure in classical dress, with its right arm raised, is a depiction of Semiramis, the semi-mythical queen of Assyria who is said to have built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Gold-painted figurehead of the 330-ton royal yacht 'Royal George' ,1817, in the form of a classical-style bust of George III wearing a laurel wreath, with two supplicating African supporters. The supporters clearly relate to the 'Am I not a man and a brother?' emblem of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the implication being that the figurehead commemorates the magnanimity of George III under whom the trade was formally abolished in 1807, exactly ten years before the yacht was built at Deptford Dockyard.
Figurehead of HMS 'Penelope' in the form of a kneeling female figure with shoulder length hair. Both arms are crossed over her body and resting on her left knee. The figure is wearing a cloak. The pose of the figure presumably refers to the reserved discretion of Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, who waited patiently for his return from Troy though besieged by suitors.
Female figure with head of snakes, it is a representation of Megaera - one of the Furies of Greek mythology.
Black-and-white painted and gilded bust-length figurehead of HMS 'Implacable', ex- 'Duguay-Trouin', representing a Gorgon from Greek Mythology, with snakes for hair.
Polychrome painted bust-length figurehead of HMS 'Horatio'. It represents Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805), in uniform, wearing a laurel wreath. Nelson lost effective sight in his right eye in 1794, though not the eye itself, at the siege of Calvi, Corsica. With rather naive charm, the figurehead represents this by showing the right eye shut. Laminate wood construction with a separate head.
Half-length, polychrome-painted, pine figurehead of a lion, from HMS 'Hogue'. The lion holds a shield on which is painted the British royal coat of arms. It is one of the last representatives of a lion tradition which dates back to Elizabethan times.
Figurehead from HMS 'Frederick William', representing HRH Prince Frederick William III of Prussia (1770-1840). Shows a dark haired man with long sideburns and thick moustache, in naval uniform with a sash across his chest.
Figurehead depicting the head of a polar bear from the Arctic exploration vessel HMS 'Resolute'.
Unidentified figurehead depicting a male figure wearing a uniform with epaulettes. The figurehead is decorated with polychrome paint.
Figurehead of the royal yacht 'Royal Charlotte', 1824. This superb late-Georgian example retrospectively represents the young Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), wife of George III) at just over half length, crowned, with an orb held before her in her left hand and a sceptre (detachable and restored) in her right, trailing slightly behind the figure. To either side she is supported behind by attendant cherubs with, on her right side, the Hanoverian royal arms, and on her left the Union flag, both within shields surrounded by foliate carving, and with flowers on the centre-line where the figure slots over the supporting stemhead.
Figurehead representing Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805) in naval uniform, wearing decoration, from an otherwise unidentified ship.
It represents a gannet with its wings folded, simply but realistically painted, and standing on a scroll head.
A male bust figurehead with dark wavy hair and sideburns. He is wearing a dark green tunic.
A half length figurehead which depicts a dark haired bearded river god wearing a crown. He is bare chested and has red cloth draped around his waist. The figurehead has been painted with polychrome oil paint and weighs 122 kilograms.
Polychrome figurehead of 19th-century collier brig, in the form of a half-length male figure in contemporary civilian dress of a red coat and black cravat/ bow-tie, with a high shirt collar. He is carved with a directness which gives him charm and vitality. As with some of the female figures of small ships there is a resemblance to Staffordshire Pottery. The ship from which this comes is not known but the portrait figure - of a long-nosed man with short hair and long sideburns - is probably that of its owner or someone in a related family.
A male figure in uniform, with sash and order on the right breast, wearing a victor's laurel wreath. It sits on a fiddle-headed scroll bearing the Spencer-Churchill arms in the trailboards, as granted to the family in 1733. This figure has long been associated with the 1st Duke of Marlborough, but has not been positively identified.
It represents Atalanta, the Arcadian huntress of Greek mythology in a classical-style green dress with red and gold band under the bustline. The left breast is shown bare and the arms are missing.
Replica of the figurehead of a merchantman in the form of a half-length male figure in uniform.
The Figurehead of HMS 'Thames' is a vigorously carved male head-and-shoulders bust, white-painted, of a scowling, bearded river god no doubt intended to represent the spirit of the River Thames. The base of the figure has a carved rope trim around it and the whole stands on an lettered black plinth.
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.
Figurehead of HMS 'Himalaya' , representing an Indian warrior in a turban drawing a sword. Repainted 1959/60.
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.
Polychrome-painted (restored) figurehead of HMS 'Bulldog'. It represents a full-length leaping bulldog with a shield on the underside bearing the Union flag. It is depicted more as a symbol of Great Britain that as a domestic pet. The words 'CAVE CANEM' meaning 'beware of the dog' are inscribed on the dog's broad collar. Designed by Hellyer & Son of Portsmouth with an estimate of £9.
The HMS 'Implacable' stern carvings consist of 56 separate parts, starting with ZBA0552.1 which is a starboard window and ending with ZBA0552.56.
Mermaid bow carving (facing right).
Mermaid bow carving (facing left). Forms a pair with EQA0428.2
Stern board comprising two parts and a central pillar, carved in high relief with two female figures. The left figure holds a cornucopia, that on the right is blindfold and holds a pair of scales. They represent plenty and justice and are possibly from the yacht 'William and Mary' 1807.
Transom. Stern carving decorated with two foliage scrolls and two female heads with drop earrings and pearls in their hair. From an unidentified vessel.
Stern carving, with depiction of two trumpets, a book, a lyre and olive branches.
Stern carving decorated with the coat of arms of Trinity House and bearing the name 'MERMAID', along with the Latin motto 'Trinitas in Unitate'. From a Trinity House vessel of the same name.
Two bow scrolls, each carved with a recumbrant mermaid holding a lyre and foliage scrolls. The carving is painted and gilded. From Trinity house vessel 'Mermaid'.
Stern carving depicting a classical warrior in a helmet and armour, flanked by military trophies - banners, spear, sword, cannon, worm, sponge and shot. The surface is painted. The item was previously held at HMS 'Ganges'.
Stern carvings made up of 111 separate parts.
Taffrail carved with scrolling foliage and a shell in the centre.
Taffrail decoration (Hakkebord). A painted scene of three Dutch vessels - a ship and two smaller craft. This is set in a carved canopy with fringed curtains looped back with gilt curtains. The reverse depicts two coats of arms suspended on carved cords with tassels.
Figurehead of HMS 'Ajax'. The polychrome-painted, bearded male figure is a half-length bust in classical armour and plumed helmet, wearing the Order of the Bath above a fiddle (backward turning) scroll: the armour is similar to that of FHD0061, made at Plymouth nearly thirty years before, suggesting common forms of source.
Figurehead from the troopship HMS 'Adventure' in the form of a female head wearing a crown of stars, and finished with polychrome oil paint.
Scale approx. 1:24. Model of the original figurehead on HMS Victory (1765), a first rate 100 gun warship. It has been carved from several pieces of boxwood which have been glued together to form one figurehead. There is a shoulder length bust of George III in classical dress, wearing a laurel leaf crown. Below, is a shield with the Union flag pre-1801, carved on and surrounded by putti. Behind the bust and shield, are two large female figures sitting on brickwork/castlations mounts, supported by figures representing the four continents. Behind the heads of these two figures are smaller, winged figures of Victory and Peace with a male lion beneath Victory, and a crowned and wreathed shield with a royal coat of arms beneath Peace. On the lower front edges, are two mythological/classical creatures: One appears to be a double headed dragon, the other a female figure or creature. Both have parts missing. Two standing putti complete the lower part of the figurehead and are holding the horn of plenty and a globe (?). There are several parts missing from the model, such as hands, faces, feet, foliage and wings.
A dark curly haired mustachioed male figure in classical drapes, representing a Roman tribune.
Figurehead of Spanish two-decker. Female head wearing a crown. Removed by officers of HMS 'Sirius'.
Figurehead of HMS 'Russell', representing Admiral Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford. On the left side is a shield bearing the Union flag inscribed with the name 'LA HOGUE'. This refers to Russell's victory over the French in 1692 in the bay of La Hogue (near Cherbourg) which neutralized the threat of the exiled James II invading England to reclaim his throne from his joint-monarch son-in-law and daughter, King William III and Mary II.
Pine figurehead depicting the head of the mythological one-eyed giant Cyclops, blinded by Odysseus (Ulysses) in Homer's 'Odyssey' . It is finished with black oil paint and weighs 63 kilograms.
Figurehead of Nelson's funeral car, the design of which was based on that of a ship, with a beakhead and transom. The carving represents a dark-haired, semi-naked female figure of 'Victory' and/or 'Fame' holding a laurel wreath and palm branch. Her white classical robe is knotted at the waist and is bisected by the supporting beakhead bracket.
Polychrome-painted, pine figurehead of HMS 'London', in the form of a female figure wearing a mural crown (a traditional attribute of cities) which may be based on the White Tower in the Tower of London. '1861' (which, if a date, is not easily explained) is inscribed in the stem post. The right eye is notably higher than the left.
Full-length, polychrome painted pine figurehead depicting a lion, from an unidentified ship.
Full-length, polychrome-painted figurehead depicting a heraldic crowned lion, holding a small badge of the cross of Saint George at the breast, where it fitted over the stem-head. This is a rare survival of a standard Royal Naval lion figurehead from a small warship probably of the fourth or fifth rate. Its present paint scheme is as restored by the late Kim Allen of Westerham, Kent, in the 1970s but probably much more subtly than most were originally painted: many were largely plain gold, or yellow simulating it. Such lion figures were the standard figureheads of all Royal Naval ships which bore them and were not of a size to warrant an individual design, as was usually the case with first-, second- and (more variably) third-rates. They were also standard in other European navies allowing for local differences of design. This is one of only two surviving British examples: the other, which is larger and probably a little later, supports the gable of the Red Lion Inn at Martlesham in Suffolk. There is an older, probably 17th-century example in Sussex, but in poor condition and of uncertain origin. FHD0089 is another example in the Museum collection, thought to be of 18th-century north European origin.
A half-length female figure wearing a white dress with scalloped neck line, with a blue pinafore style cloak, fastened at the shoulders. A classical hair style caught in a bun.
Figurehead of a merchantman, whose dress style is considered firm evidence of coming from a French ship though nothing more specific is known of it. It represents a three-quarter-length, polychrome-painted, female figure in mid-eighteenth century dress, holding a posy of flowers in her right hand, a closed fan in her left hand and pearls around her neck.
Figurehead of HMS 'Favourite', comprising a half length female figure in a high-waisted, off the shoulder dress with square neckline and pearl necklace, with a rose in her hair. Her hair is curled at the front and tied up at the back.
White-painted figurehead of the iron merchant sailing ship 'Coriolanus' , 1876, in the form of a male bust in armour and helmet, representing the Roman general Gaius Marcus Coriolanus (most familiar through Shakespeare's bloody tragedy based on him). The figure is supported by foliate carving. This figurehead is in fact a replacement, having been carved in 1902 after the original full-length one was lost when the ship went aground in Algoa Bay, South Africa, during a hurricane.
Cream or white-painted figurehead of the schooner 'Britannia', latterly of Littlehampton. It represents a three-quarter-length female figure of Britannia in a mail coat and helmet.The right arm is held across the breast, the left straight down the left side.
Polychrome-painted figurehead in the form of a half-length female figure holding flowers in the right hand, across the breast. She is clad in a mid ninteenth century costume.
Bust of Greek or Roman warrior in a natural dark wood finish. In plumed helmet, half-length.
A seabird perched on a scroll in a crouched position with wings partly spread. Painted: multi-coloured.
Polychrome-painted, restored, figurehead depicting a jester or clown, at full length but entirely armless, in a costume similar to traditional motley, with bells on the tunic, a cloak behind and a fool's cap. The words 'HERE WE ARE AGAIN' are inscribed on the supporting stem-post. This is a catch-phrase originally associated with the great pantomime clown Joseph Grimaldi (1779-1837), and the face might be intended as a likeness, though the costume is not the clown's dress in which Grimaldi is generally recorded.
A serpent with several coils. The figurehead consists of four parts, FHD0080.1, FHD0080.2 , FHD0080.3 and a sign FHD0080.4.
Model figurehead of the barque 'Durban', 1870, representing the half (almost three-quarter) length figure of a bearded Zulu warrior with a shield on his left arm. The right arm is missing.
Bearded figure of Neptune, wearing a crown and holding a trident. The ship from which it came is unidentified.
Full-length bearded male figure, draped, wearing a laurel wreath and holding a book. Previously identified as 'Peace'. The ship from which it came is unidentified.
Rudder head in the form of a warrior's head carved in the baroque style. The warrior wears a peaked, winged helmet, the top of the helmet in the form of an animal head. The figure has a hooked nose and a moustache with two locks of long hair falling down his back. He wears scaled armour and a ruffled neck-cloth. The carving terminates in two spirals at the sides.
Female figurehead with red hair wearing a blue cape/mantle. Probably from HMS 'Adventure' 1855?
Stern badge from the Greenwich Hospital barge. On a cartouche, the Greenwich Hospital crest of crossed Union flags with white staffs above a gold naval crown on a red ground), with two 'cherubs' which act as supporters and gilded and painted scrollwork below. The two putti, in light blue costume appear, in fact, to be in the early to mid-18th-century dress of boys of the Hospital School and are perhaps more properly described as such. The painting of this item does not appear to be original and while it can reasonably be assumed the colours follow the first scheme, it would require specialist examination to confirm this.
Stern carving depicting a reclining female figure in classical dress, one breast bared. She leans on her left elbow and looks left. There would have been a similar figure on the other side of the stern.
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.
Figurehead depicting a female head in a helmet decorated with an olive branch and plume. It is from an unidentified vessel.
Pine unidentified figurehead. The figurehead depicts a bearded male head which is wearing a spiked brass crown, which possibly represents Neptune. Probably 19th century.
Figurehead of a female wearing an off the shoulder dress. Dress decorations made of lead. Early Victorian hair style with a bun. Neck choker with six star pendant. Probably belonged to HMS 'Star'.
Stern carving from a naval commissioner's barge. The wooden carving is decorated with a foul anchor of the Navy Board, flanked by two dolphins with a lion's head above. Strings of pearls and shells are placed below the dolphins.
Polychrome-painted figurehead in the form of a lion's head, from an unidentified ship.
Black-and-white painted and part-gilded figurehead in the form of a half-length bust of King Edward VII, in naval uniform with epaulettes, emerging from a foliate scroll head. It comes from a model brig built by Edward VII in 1904 for his grandchildren and sailed on Virginia Water. It was based on a 42-foot naval cutter, reconstructed and rigged as a 10-gun brig at Sheerness Dockyard. On completion it was towed up the Thames as far as Brentford then loaded onto road transport for the short journey to Virginia Water, where it was actively used by the royal children for 13 years. In 1919 it was condemned and broken up, the figurehead and stern nameboard (FHD0065.2) being saved.