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Figurehead of the 'Druid'


Object connections:

Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsDruid 1825 [HMS]

Object details:

Object ID PAF6203
Description Signed and dated lower right by the artist. This very competent technical study was presented to the NMM by a London dealer (Sabin), probably as something of specialist interest but of little commercial value. It is, in fact, possibly a unique survival, being either by the wife or the eldest daughter of the marine artist William John Huggins. Given the date and immaturity of the signature the daughter seems more likely, and the competence suggests Huggins taught all his children to draw, not just his two artist sons, James and John. In 1834 Berthia (1809-84) married Huggins's younger artistic collaborator Edward Duncan RWS (1803-82), whose father Thomas had earlier taught Huggins himself. The spelling of 'Berthia' also confirms that the 'Berthier' variant sometimes found (including in the IGI transcripts) is incorrect. There is a copy letter from a Huggins descendant, Mrs Joan Pamm, dated 1951, in the old NMM Print Room files which says that 'Berthia' was a traditional name in the family and also that such family papers as she knew of were at some point destroyed, rather limiting future biographical research possibilities. Previous NMM record assumed that the ship whose head is shown here was a Royal Naval one and if so it would have to be the 46-gun ship launched at Pembroke Dock in 1825; but there is no inscription other than the signature and date, so it may not be and even the name is an assumption, albeit a reasonable one. [PvdM 3/04: amended 2/12]
Date made 1826

Artist/Maker Huggins, Berthia
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials wash, grey
Measurements Sheet: 279 x 390 mm; Mount: 405 mm x 557 mm
  • Figurehead of the 'Druid' (PAF6203)
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