Figurehead of the Yacht Royal Adelaide

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the Yacht Royal Adelaide
Vessel name
HMY Royal Adelaide
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Royal Yacht
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

An unusually small figurehead a quarter the usual size. The crowned figure wears a yellow tunic with one arm outstretched as if in supplication and the other holding a trident. She possibly represents Britannia although the vessel was named after the consort of William IV. At the base of the carving along the ship’s bow there are two shields with the British flag.
Robert Hall
Date made
Place made
Wood, Gilding
Object history
The design for this figurehead was submitted by Robert Hall of Rotherhithe in December 1833 for the price of £78.0.0, a large amount for such a small figurehead. Noted as being at Plymouth in the 1911 Admiralty Catalogue, the figurehead was moved to Portsmouth Dockyard Museum on the request of George V who visited the museum in 1914 and insisted it should be placed there. It appears in the 1919 edition of the Museum Catalogue.
Vessel history
This yacht was used only on royal and ceremonial occasions in Virginia Water, Surrey. It had all the outward appearance of a thirty-six-gun frigate and had twenty-two brass guns mounted for ceremonial gun salutes. It was built in Sheerness Dockyard in 1833 and later transported to, Virginia Water, Surrey in 1834 and launched in the presence of the King and Queen. Queen Victoria also used the ship alongside her children in the later part of the century. 'Royal Adelaide' was broken up in 1877 and her armament went to the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes.

David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.56
Admiralty Catalogue(1911) No 623

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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