Figurehead of the Cutty Sark

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the Cutty Sark
Vessel name
Cutty Sark
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Copyright owner
© Cutty Sark Trust Copyright
Copyright notes
Photo: © Cutty Sark Trust Copyright
Current location
Cutty Sark
Location date

Physical Information

'Nannie' is a white female figure with left arm held forward and holding a genuine horse's tail. In the days when she was still sailing, the tail used to be made out of old rope, teased out by the apprentices on board.
She is wearing a loose-fitting garment with gold trim. It slips off her right shoulder leaving both breasts exposed. She has long hair and her mouth is slightly opened. The figurehead has a small black pedestal and gold scrollwork.
F. Hellyer of Blackwall
Date made
Place made
H235 x W65 x D136 cms
Object history
The original figurehead was carved by F. Hellyer of Blackwall, a member of a very well known carving family. The head and left arm were lost in rough weather sometime between 1885 and 1895 and replaced towards the end of the ship's working career. When the ship was restored, a replica was made by Arthur Levison in 1956 which is presently on the bow. The original is on display with the other historic figureheads under cover.
Vessel history
'Cutty Sark', of 963 tons, was built on the Clyde and sailed on her maiden voyage in February 1870. Although built to serve the China tea trade, she found success and fame on the Australian wool run. She was sold to the Portuguese in 1895, and in 1922 bought from them by Captain Wilfred Dowman who restored the ship and used her as a training vessel. He died in 1936 and his widow presented her to the Thames Nautical Training College. In 1953 she was formally presented to the Cutty Sark Preservation Society, who sought to preserve the ship in Greenwich as a visitor attraction and lasting memorial to the Merchant Navy. Following a major restoration project, the ship was opened to the public by the Queen on 25 June 1957. After 50 years in Greenwich, Cutty Sark needed major work again and a conservation project began in 2006 to prevent any more damage, strengthen the ship and make sure her shape was preserved. HM The Queen returned to Greenwich on 25 April 2012 to re-open Cutty Sark to the public once more.

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
The Cutty Sark Trust
Contact details
Royal Museums Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Ownership can be cited online
Accessible to public
Data verified by owner
Date verified

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