Figurehead of 'Palinurus' by unknown

Figurehead of 'Palinurus'


Fine art poster

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Figurehead of 'Palinurus' by unknown zoom

Figurehead of 'Palinurus'

Figurehead of the barque 'Palinurus', in the form of a full-length polychrome painted male figure, including feet, in formal dress of about 1830. He holds a hunting-sword or cutlass transversely above his head with his extended right arm, as if parrying a blow. The 'Palinurus' went onto the Lion Rock, off the north of St Martin's, while inward bound from Demerara in 1848. All her crew of 17 were drowned, eventually washed ashore and buried on St Mary's. The first alarm was raised by cattle frightened out of their field by the noise of the vessel's sails flapping and tearing in the wind. Local people managed to save some of her cargo: 14 hogsheads and 71 puncheons of spirits, and 9 quarter-casks of rum were brought ashore. 'Palinurus' is the name of the helmsman of Achilles in Virgil's 'Aeneid'. 'Polinarus', the traditional local name for the piece, is understandable but incorrect.

  • Image reference: D1231-6

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