I discovered this magnificent carved and decorated figurehead featuring Admiral Lord Nelson lying quite close to HMS Victory, his famous ship, in Portsmouth Dockyard one fine day. As you can see, the right eye remains unpainted as he famously lost his sight in this eye in the siege of Calvi in 1794.
Research relates that It adorned HMS Trafalgar, a ship built in 1841, which took part in the bombardment of Sebastopol in 1854. In 1873, it was renamed Boscawen and was located in Portland where it became a seaman boy’s training ship. The vessel was sold in 1905 when the boy’s training was transferred.
The restoration of this figurehead was undertaken with the help of the American fund of the Royal Naval Museum as part of the museum’s centenary year in 2011. It’s certainly rather striking.
Contributor and photographer: Sue Lowry
Portsmouth Dockyard is on twitter @PompeyDockyard and on Facebook/Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
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