An exceptional 19th Century carved, top-quality, rare yacht figurehead with known historic facts and educated speculation all supporting its position as a rare, collectable figurehead of a highland Scotsman. It is recorded as a representation of the Marquess of Lorne. It once adorned the bow of a large steam yacht, standing on its traditional forward scroll billet, and was salvaged from a wreck in Cemeas Bay near Anglesey, Wales in the last quarter of the 19th Century.
Of all the artifacts from a ship, it is the figurehead that most profoundly captures the character. Exceptionally carved and styled, the young man is dressed in a traditional Scottish highlander garb from the period, a red jacket, loose undershirt and a kilt with a tartan design closely associated with the Ancient Campbell of Argyle tartan. The figure is the Marquess of Lorne, John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, who became the 9th Duke of Argyle in 1900. A large steam yacht that was named for him and used by him was built in 1874, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada with Scottish engines by David Kinghorn of Glasgow and shipped, we believe, with this carving. The Marquess was married to Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise in 1871. In 1878 the Marquess became the governor general of Canada, and held the position until returning to Britain in 1883.
Carved from a large solid timber and not laminated planks, this undoubtedly commissioned carving was performed by a skilled artisan, with the appropriate mounting plug and carved back to meet the stem of the vessel. The artifact is in excellent shape, with levels of old paint and some recent areas of touch-up. He wears a traditional Balmoral bonnet, sash and tartan kilt with the sporran pouch properly trimmed. Artifacts of this age and quality, especially with such known information, are sought after and extremely rare. One of the best we've ever seen or had.
Report available by Richard Hunter, Figurehead Historian: http://vallejogallery.com/item.php?pt=y&id=36829
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