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Florence Nightingale Ship’s Figurehead, nineteenth century

Display No. 180

This sculpture of Florence Nightingale is a ship’s figurehead, thought to date from the nineteenth century. Figureheads are the carved wooden sculptures that decorate the prows of sailing ships. Sailing on the open ocean was full of danger, where good or bad luck with the weather could be a matter of life and death. The superstitions of sailors meant that figureheads held great significance to those on board and they would go to great lengths to care for them.

Figurehead

Selwyn / Alamy Stock Photo

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