Figurehead of the HMS Trafalgar

Basic Information

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

Physical Information

This figurehead depicts Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson (1758-1805). The bust wears a full-dress uniform embellished with the stars of the Order of the Crescent,(Turkey) the Order of St Ferdinand(Naples & Sicily) and the Order of Bath with a Naval Gold Medal around the neck. The figure also wears a gold-laced hat.
Hellyer & Son
Date made
Place made
Portsmouth Dockyard
Object history
There were several proposed sketches for this figurehead during the vessels long period of construction, roughly 11 years. The chosen design was that of Hellyer & Son of Portsmouth Yard for £45.0.0. This was based on a bust the Surveyor of the Navy had purchased in London. When the ship was sold for breaking up, the figurehead was added to the small collection at HMS'Ganges'-the boys' training establishment at Shotley, Suffolk.until 1976 when the training establishment closed. The figurehead was then moved to Portsmouth.
Vessel history
HMS 'Trafalgar' was launched in 1841 from Woolwich Dockyard after spending a lengthy 11 years in construction. The 1st rate, 120 gun ship, 2404bm, 196ft took part in the bombardment of Sebastopol during the Crimea War. In 1858 the ship underwent alterations turning her into a two-decked, steam powered ‘screw battleship’. 'Trafalgar' then became part of the Channel and Mediterranean fleets and in 1865 a guardship at Queensferry. Between 1870 and 1906 Trafalgar was used as a training ship for cadets and after being renamed 'Boscawen', was stationed at Portland as a boys’ training ship. She was sold in 1906 to Castle & Co. of London for breaking up after boys training was transferred to Shotley in 1905.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.62

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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