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HMS Bulldog


Object connections:

Collection Figureheads
User collections maxinthebox maritime by maxinthebox
Cute animals by BirgittaPeippo
Gallery locationNeptune Court (Floor plans)
VesselsBulldog (1845)

Object details:

Object ID FHD0068
Description Polychrome-painted (restored) figurehead of HMS 'Bulldog', a wooden paddle sloop of 1124 tons, built at Chatham Dockyard in 1844-45. The figurehead represents a full-length leaping bulldog with a shield on the underside bearing the Union flag. The words 'CAVE CANEM' (beware of the dog) are inscribed on the dog's broad collar. The ship was commissioned for the Mediterranean in 1847, paying off at Portsmouth in 1850. In 1854 it went to the Baltic in the Crimean War campaign there, taking part in the attack on the fortress of Bomarsund. In 1856 it was at the St George's Day Review, Spithead and in 1860 was recommissioned under Captain Leopold McLintock to survey part of the route for the proposed transatlantic cable, before being kept on the West Indies and North America Station. It paid off at Portsmouth in 1862 but returned to the North America Station in 1864 under Captain Charles Wake. The vessel was stranded on a reef while attacking (and sinking) the rebel steamer 'Valorague',and another schooner at Cape Haytieu, Haiti in 1865. In addition, though stationary and in point-blank range of a rebel battery, 'Bulldog' blew up a powder magazine ashore, set fire to the town, and dispersed riflemen ashore before she began to run out of ammunition. Wake then set her on fire rather than let her fall into enemy hands, his crew of 175 (three dead, ten wounded) being evacuated by a US Navy ship. The figurehead was later saved and presented to the Royal United Services Institute by Admiral G. F. King-Hall KCB, CVO.
Date made 1845

Artist/Maker Hellyer & Son
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Royal United Service Institution Collection
Materials pine; lead paint
Measurements Overall: 2032 x 495 x 660 mm
  • HMS Bulldog (FHD0068)
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