Figurehead of the Princess Alice

Basic Information

Figurehead type
Figurehead of the Princess Alice
Vessel name
Princess Alice
Type (Naval/Merchant)
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

This small female figure wears a tight bodice in blue and cream with a blue and gold hat. At the opening of her blouse a red rose is carved. The bust figure is leaning forward with her skirt falling over the base of the carving, a navy blue and gold scroll. In the Fire-Engine House of Devonport Dockyard recording she is described as ‘Bust of a young woman inclining forward, very pretty face. Brown Bodice with red rose at breast opening’. This description shows that she was repainted at some point.
Date made
Place made
3ft in length
Object history
The figurehead was first listed after being removed from the ship in 1878 in the 1911 Admiralty catalogue at Devonport Dockyard. 'Princess Alice' is then mentioned again by The Society for Nautical Research in 1913-1914. In their journal ‘The Mariner’s Mirror’ she is recorded at the Fire Engine House in Devonport Dockyard, with an intention for her to be moved to the Royal Navy (RN) Barracks. In 1957 she is placed in the entrance to the wardroom of the HMS Phoenicia, stationed at Manoel Island, Malta. In the 1970’s she became part of the NMRN collection.
Vessel history
'Princess Alice', an iron paddle packet was built by Ditchburn & Mare of Blackwall and launched from there in 1843. Thomas Ditchburn, the designer, fitted the vessel with a Maudslay Engine and paddle wheels. After being purchased by the Admiralty she was given her name, after Princess Alice Maud Mary, Queen Victoria’s third child, born in 1843. The ship was then based in Dover providing a cross channel mail passenger service. In 1864 the ship became the Commander-in-Chief of Devonport’s yacht and tender to HMS 'Royal Adelaide' before being broken up in 1878.
David Pulvertaft ‘The Warship Figureheads of Portsmouth’ (Stroud, 2009) p.68
Admiralty Catalogue(1911) No 442

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

Connect with us

Our social media space