Figurehead of the HMS Victory (post-1800)

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the HMS Victory (post-1800)
Vessel name
HMS Victory (post-1800)
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© National Museum of the Royal Navy
Copyright notes
Current location
HMS Victory, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Location date

Physical Information

The present carving which is a replacement is an oval shield bearing the Hanovarian Royal Arms with cherubs as supporters. This is thought to be the design in use at Trafalgar.
Date made
Place made
Object history
There is speculation at to whether this was the ships figurehead during the Battle of Trafalgar as a John Player & Sons cigarette card of 1912, shows the shield with different supporters—a sailor and a marine.
Vessel history
HMS 'Victory' was launched in May 1765. A 1st rate, 100 gun ship, she was first commissioned in March 1778. She spent the next few years in the Channel Fleet. The ship was first Admiral Keppel’s flagship in July 1778 and then became Admiral Kempenfelt’s in December 1781. In 1795 HMS 'Victory' became the flagship of Admiral Sir John Jarvis’s Mediterranean Fleet. She was involved in the blockade of Toulon in 1796 and the Battle of St. Vincent in February 1797. The ship returned to Chatham Dockyard in 1800 for repairs. In May 1803 the ship became Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, sailing to the Mediterranean. The ship was badly damaged after the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805,she was towed to Gibraltar and later returned home carrying the body of her dead Admiral. After extensive repairs she served in the Baltic and off the coast of Spain, her active service ended in 1812. After this Victory was modernised and repaired and in 1824 became the flagship for the Port Admiral. In 1889 the ship became the flagship for the commander-in-chief. By 1920 she was in very poor condition but was saved by The Society for Nautical Research and remains preserved in Portsmouth Dockyard today, restored to her 1805 appearance.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.24

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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