No other objects evoke such immediate and romantic images of the sea as ship's figureheads. The art of the mariner is in no way better expressed than in these silent and very prized artifacts. These bow decorations are of great importance not only by virtue of their form, attire and artistic merit, but by their significant historical value as well.
Of all the artifacts taken from a ship, it is the figurehead that most profoundly captures her character. The personalities of individual ships were well known among her sailors and these attributes were represented in the figurehead. Long after the great ships have gone, these sturdy wooden sentinels will remain as a place for their spirits to dwell and as monuments to their memory.
A very rare example is this fine work with the unusual placing of the figure on the fore side of the billet-head with the beak of the ship's prow arching above. The jacketed young man holding his be-ribboned jack tar cap in one hand was obviously carved by a master. The polychrome sculpture maintains much of the old paint and is mounted in a permanent display base that makes it free standing.
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