Background history of the figure

Admiral Jervis (1735-1823) was created Lord St. Vincent in 1797 and honoured when in 1815 H.M.S. St Vincent of 120 guns was named after him. Built in Devonport, the figurehead was designed and carved by the eminent ships carver James Dickerson, master carver at the Devonport dock-yard. By 1851 the figurehead was showing signs of decay and a new design was carved by the Hellyer family, (master carvers at Portsmouth dock-yard). When the ship was broken up in 1906, the Hellyer figurehead was transferred to the newly established training school H.M.S. Ganges at Shotley. By 1946 he was in a state of near collapse, so a mould was taken of the figure, and two copies were cast in concrete.

The first was retained at Shotley, but destroyed there about 1993

The second went to the training establishment St. Vincent in Gosport, and then moved to H.M.S. Collingwood


Since that time the paint has naturally deteriorated, revealing some spalling of the concrete finish, which on the starboard side of the figure was quite severe. The flaking paint had also exposed some small cracks in the surface of the concrete. In 2016 Maritima was commissioned to restore the figure, although outside my usual medium, it was felt important to retain what is still an historic representation of the original figure. The failed surface concrete was removed and replaced with an epoxy resin cement mortar, and the remaining cracks and exposed concrete surface sealed with an appropriate product. painting of the figure was then returned to the original colours, with the epaulettes, collar and buckles finished in gold leaf.