Peabody Essex Museum Maritime Arts and History

Figurehead The Maritime Art and History Collection features 50,000 marine paintings, drawings, and prints, recognized as the best collection of its kind in the nation. These galleries include works by some of the masters of marine art-- Fitz Hugh Lane, Robert Salmon, and James Buttersworth. Also featured are important objects which portray the pivotal role of the sea in America's commercial, social, and cultural growth. Rare nautical instruments and charts illuminate the development of international trade, original ship plans depict the growing prosperity of America and its shipping fleets, and decorative pieces reflect the many moods of the sea.

Reference material related to the Maritime collection:

Figurehead: Britannia, 1820-30
Attributed to Isaac Fowle (active between 1806 and 1843)
Carved and painted wood: height, 4 1/2 ft.

This allegorical figure from an unidentified vessel represents Britannia in a military uniform with a drawn sword. Fowle served an apprenticeship with Skillins in Boston before establishing his own ship-carving business, which he ran until 1832. Fowle was known for his smoothly cut details and well-handled drapery. His sons continued the business until 1869.