Figurehead of the HMS Raleigh, 1873

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the HMS Raleigh, 1873
Vessel name
HMS Raleigh, 1873
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© UK MOD Crown Copyright 1983
Copyright notes
Image: © UK MOD Crown Copyright 1983
Current location
HMS Raleigh, Torpoint
Location date

Physical Information

Half-length male bust in Elizabethan costume, doublet buttoned at the front, with a cloak over one shoulder. The figure is bearded. The carving terminates in scrolls and foliage.
Date made
Place made
Chatham Dockyard
Object history
By the time the 1873 HMS Raleigh was launched her vertical bow was hardly suitable for a figurehead and the dockyard submitted a design for a bow decoration made up of the royal arms on each side of the bow, supported by winged cherubs. This was not approved and a bust of Sir Walter was approved in 1873. When the ship was been prepared at Devonport in 1885 to become a flagship of the Cape and West Coast Squadron, her original figurehead was removed and a replacement was fitted. This figurehead served her until she was broken up in 1905. This second figurehead was lost at some time in the 1970s but the original was preserved in the Devonport collection.
Vessel history
An unarmoured, screw, frigate launched in 1873 at Chatham. She formed part of the Detached Squadron, which escorted the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) on a visit to India. On the return voyage Raleigh remained in the Mediterranean. From 1885 she was transferred to the Cape of Good Hope and West Africa Station until 1893. The ship was broken up in 1905 at Morecambe.
David Pulvertaft 'Figureheads Of The Royal Navy' (Seaforth 2011) p. 87,88 and p.225.

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
Ministry of Defence (MoD)
Contact details
HMS Raleigh, Trevol Road, Torpoint, Devon PL11 2PD
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
By appointment
Data verified by owner
Date verified

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