Saturday, 6 July 2013

Figureheads



Whilst in Greenwich I popped into the National Maritime Museum. Of all the naval memorabilia on display my favourites are the ship figureheads. They are such great examples of a now sadly lost, popular art. It is thought that they first appeared on Viking ships (AD 800-1100), to ward off evil spirits, but were adopted on most ships in the 16th century. As figureheads got more extravagant and heavier, they affected the sailing ability of the ships so badly that they were made dramatically smaller, or abolished altogether around 1800. These are some really impressive examples, beautifully carved and painted.