Figurehead of the HMS Malacca

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the HMS Malacca
Vessel name
HMS Malacca
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Copyright notes
Photo: © National Museum of the Royal Navy
Current location
National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth
Location date

Physical Information

This male bust figurehead wears classical armour over a shirt and a plumed helmet. He has a moustache. In the original sketch by Hellyer & son, the figurehead depicted an Indian man wearing a striped shirt and turban.
Hellyer & Son
Date made
Place made
Wood - the ship is teak
Object history
This object was designed after Hellyer & Son of Portsmouth requested work from the Surveyor of the Navy in 1844. The carving is not identical to the design but presumably it was changed during the carving process. It could possibly be a replacement for a damaged original.
The surveyor requested designs for HMS Malacca and various other ships including Zebra and Goshawk. The carver was paid £9.0.0 for his work. However, the design by Hellyer & Son and the existing carving are not consistent with one another so it is believed that the figurehead was replaced due to damage at some point during its service. The figurehead is now preserved at NMRN.
Vessel history
HMS 'Malacca' was ordered by the East India Company in Bombay in May 1841. However, for some reason the decision was changed and seven years later in October 1848 the teak, wood screw sloop, 1,0346bm, 192ft was built in Moulmein Burma. She was launched from the same location in April 1853 but had to be sailed back to Chatham for her engines to be fitted. During the 1850’s she was stationed in the Mediterranean then the West Indies and North America. After being sold in 1869 for breaking up, 'Malacca' was resold to the Japanese Navy and served with them until 1906 as 'Tsukuba'.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.84

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
National Museum of the Royal Navy
Contact details
National Museum of the Royal Navy, HM Naval Base (PP66), Portsmouth PO1 3NH
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
Data verified by owner
Date verified

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