Maritima has recently been awarded the contract to restore the figurehead from H.M.S. Satellite
The figure was originally designed and carved by the Dickerson family. Probably Frederick, who was master carver at the Devonport dockyard where the ship was launched as a screw corvette in 1855. The Dickerson family are recorded as carvers to the navy from 1770 to 1871. Producing carved work for over 100 ships during that period. Their work forms a major contribution to the decoration of our ships. The figure from HMS Satellite is one of the few surviving examples of their work, and as such is of great historical value.
The ship served in the Pacific station from 1856-61 to deal with the repression of slavers and piracy. By 1868 she served in the Indian and China seas, landing troops of the Naval Brigade, as part of the Abyssinian Expedition.
She returned to the United Kingdom in 1870 and was broken up at Devonport in 1879. As with most ships of the period, the figure head was saved as a shore exhibit. She has since been in store for many years at H.M.S. Calliope, Newcastle upon Tyne. She has now been moved to my workshop in Oxfordshire for the restoration work to be carried out.
The following images show the removal of the outer carved laminates, to reveal the extent of rot to the internal core. Wood that had totally disintegrated was then removed. What remained treated against further decay and consolidated, ready for the insertion of new timber.
Most of the outer carving has survived, where parts were damaged or missing new wood was inserted and re-carved.
Paint samples were analysed to return the figure to the original colour scheme.
The final pictures show the figure being installed at her new home in South Shields Through an upstairs window !