The Mariners’ Museum is home to the finest collection of ship figureheads in the United States. Such decorative carvings, often symbolic in nature, are among the most visually powerful reminders of our maritime past. This gilded symbol of American strength is among the largest and most impressive figureheads ever produced. John Haley Bellamy, one of America’s premier woodcarvers, constructed this figurehead in 1880-1881 for the rebuilt steam frigate USS Lancaster. Weighing 3,200 pounds with a wingspan over nineteen feet, the eagle is the only known surviving figurehead by Bellamy. This graceful carving retains the careful attention to detail, the economy of line, and the freedom of movement characteristic of all of his work.
Mariners’ is home to one of the largest and finest collections of figureheads in the United States. Often symbolic in nature, figureheads are among the most visually powerful reminders of our maritime past. This gilded symbol of American strength by premier carver John Haley Bellamy once decorated the bow of the USS Lancaster. With a nineteen-foot wingspan and a weight of 3,200 pounds, it is one of the largest and most awe-inspiring figureheads ever produced.