SHIPS FIGUREHEADS

Sail training ships – Replica ships – Yachts of all sizes

At one time, every major port had a ship’s carver to create the mass of sculpture, that decorated both Naval and Merchant ships.

Not just figureheads, but trailboards, and decoration to the stern and quarter galleries.

Small figures could be carved from a solid block of seasoned wood. But the majority of figureheads were constructed from sections of timber, laminated to form a carving block. This gave the strength and stability required, for such artworks to survive a life at sea.

The subject matter varied. Naval ships favoured figures depicting indomitable strength. Heroes from Greek mythology were popular motifs. Merchant ships were often named after the owner, his wife or daughter. Giving the perfect subject matter for the figurehead.

Carving with mechanical chisels may be quicker, but an essential quality is lost. There is no longer the same sense of touch, that brings  a carving to life. All my figureheads are constructed in this traditional manner, carved by hand, to give a true sense of authenticity. In creating figureheads and stern decoration for replica ships, a vast amount of historical research is required. Much of which forms the basis of my book ‘Ship Decoration 1630-1780’.

Take a look on my home page, where the book is available for sale.

Figureheads for sale can be found in the section ‘figureheads for collectors.