Figurehead of the HMS Peterel

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the HMS Peterel
Vessel name
HMS Peterel
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

Three-quarter-length female bust, her hair tied back. She wears a headdress, a tightly fitted mid-Victorian bodice with a pinked collar and a full skirt. The figure terminates in scrolls with a petrel carved in relief on the sides.
Frederick Dickerson
Date made
Place made
Object history
The figurehead was removed from the ship in 1901 after breaking up. It was then preserved at Devonport Dockyard and was recorded there in the 1911 Admiralty Catalogue. The figurehead spent the 1940’s on display at the RN Barracks, where it was placed on the cricket pitch. In 1957 it was moved to HMS 'Royal Arthur' near Corsham, Wiltshire. After this the figurehead was moved to Foxhill, Bath and housed in the Ministry of Defence offices. Later, Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust bought and restored her. The figurehead is now on display at NMRN Museum in Boathouse No.7 amongst the displays 'The Dockyard Apprentice' exhibition.

Vessel history
HMS 'Peterel' was built and launched at Devonport Dockyard in November 1860. A Rosario Class wooden screw sloop 11guns, 669bm, 160ft she saw service on the North America and the West Indies Station. During the mid-1870’s she was stationed in the Pacific. In 1875 she became the light ship which marked the wreck of HMS 'Vanguard' (HMS 'Vanguard' sunk off the coast of Ireland after colliding with HMS 'Iron Duke' in September 1875). By 1885 'Peterel' was a coal hulk. The ship was sold in 1901.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.88
Admiralty Catalogue(1911) No 439

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

Connect with us

Our social media space