The Colour Schemes of British Warship Figureheads 1727–1900

By David Pulvertaft, published May 2018

Abstract

Between the mid-eighteenth century and 1900 almost all the figureheads on British warships were carved in the likeness of an individual man, woman, beast or bird, each of which was intended to represented the name of the ship. Of those that have survived, the vast majority are painted in full colour, suggesting that this was how they were painted when in service with the fleet. This article looks at what evidence exists to show how they were actually painted so that the subject may be better understood. It concludes that, between 1727 and 1900, both white figureheads and those painted in colour were to be seen throughout the fleet and that rather more were painted white than in colour.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Ship Models & Figureheads

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