Female figurehead - unidentified ('crowned Spanish lady')
- Figurehead type
- Female figurehead - unidentified ('crowned Spanish lady')
- Vessel name
- Unidentified Spanish Vessel
- Type (Naval/Merchant)
- Copyright owner
- © National Maritime Museum
- Copyright notes
- Photo: © National Maritime Museum
- Current location
- On display in Neptune Court, NMM
- Location date
- Figurehead of Spanish two-decker. Female head wearing a crown. Removed by officers of HMS 'Sirius'.
- Date made
- Place made
- H76.2 x W45.7 x D40.6 cms
- Wood: Pine; Lead paint
- Object history
- Removed from a Spanish vessel at Fernando Po in 1869. The figurehead was then housed in HMS Ganges, Shotley, before being transferred to the NMM by The Admiralty in July 1965.
- Vessel history
- The figurehead is from a Spanish two-decker, reputed to have fought at Trafalgar and escaped.
In 1869 the ship was being employed as a hulk for political prisoners at Fernando Po. In October of that year, whilst HMS 'Sirius' was stationed at Fernando Po, four young officers, Sub-Lts Gardiner and Henry Backler, Midshipman A.F.H. Drayson and Assistant Surgeon James C. Dunlop, decided to remove the figurehead. At night, and in a gale, the four went out in a dinghy, two armed with a two-handed saw, climbed the cable and worked whilst two remained in the dinghy. Eventually the head dropped into the sea and was towed to the 'Sirius', which sailed within a few hours for the Cape. The head was kept in the gun room until the end of the commission when it was removed to Midshipman Drayson's home in Southhampton.
Gardiner was drowned in the China sea and Dunlop and Backler had died, so the figurehead remained in Drayson's possession until he died in his 95th year in February 1945.
- Owner type
- Public Institution
- Owner name
- National Maritime Museum
- Contact details
- Royal Museums Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
- Ownership can be cited online
- Accessible to public
- Data verified by owner
- Date verified
The figureheads database contains records of over 300 figureheads.