Figurehead of HMS Calliope

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of HMS Calliope
Vessel name
HMS Calliope
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© UK MoD Crown Copyright 1983
Copyright notes
Photo: © UK MoD Crown Copyright 1983
Current location
Plymouth Naval Base Museum
Location date

Physical Information

A female, three-quarter-length wears an eastern crown and a veil. There are three strands of pearls round her neck. She has a tight bodice with a gold zigzag patterned embroidery round the neck and down the front, with a white chemise underneath. The blue bodice comes to a point at the front lower edge partially covering a red skirt.
J E Hellyer
Date made
Place made
Object history
Designs were submitted by Robert Hall of Rotherhithe and the Hellyers of Portsmouth. Robert Hall had a loose style to his designs (based on the first Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry) offered for the sum of £7, one with her book and horn, another with a lute and a third holding a book and a quill pen. J E Hellyer submitted a more precise three-quarter-lenth figure with a wreath and a scroll and it was this design that was approved, for the sum of £6.
Vessel history
A 6th rate, of 26 guns, she was built at Sheerness in 1837. She took an active role in the First China War, being involved in an attack on the approaches to Canton during January 1841. She was stationed in Australia during the early 1850s and was deployed to New Zealand in 1848 during wars with the Maori. Her crew were involved in the attack on the pa at Ruapekapeka. From 1860 'Calliope' was a floating chapel, and she was used as a factory from 1865. She was broken up at Devonport in 1883.
David Pulvertaft 'Figureheads Of The Royal Navy (Seaforth 2011)p.140
Admiralty Catalogue (1911) No 410

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
Plymouth Naval Base Museum
Contact details
HM Naval Base, Devonport
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
By appointment
Data verified by owner
Date verified

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