The Lady Young Figurehead – FOR SALE

From R Merta Americana Antiques & Folk Art Of Indian Harbour Beach Florida USA

Looking resplendent in her Union Jack Dress the Figurehead of the British sailing ship “LADY YOUNG” will be offered for sale by Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth New Hampshire, the preeminent auction house for Maritime art and artefacts in America, part of the Folk Art holdings of R Merta Americana Antiques & Folk Art based at Indian Harbour Beach in Florida, This impressive carving is one of his non-American pieces. On offer is a genuine antique ships figurehead from the barque “LADY YOUNG.” a 589 ton British owned ship, originally built in Canada in 1870, on the night of the 27th October 1880 she was bound from Hamburg to Cardiff with a general cargo, at the height of gale she ran aground off the treacherous South Devon coast breaking her back, becoming a total wreck, it was recorded that several other vessels were in trouble that particular night. “Lady Young’s” Captain, John Watkins was trying desperately to reach safety in Plymouth Sound. By one a.m. that night the fight was over the 144 foot long ship was firmly on the rocks near the local village of Bantham. The LADY YOUNG which had been built of the finest wood in Quebec in the year 1870 was a total wreck and was broken up by the sea over  the preceding  days that  followed,  wood and parts of the cargo  from the ship were sold at a local auction, The figurehead and parts of the carved stern board also found their way  on to the beach to be salvaged by locals, it is believed that fragments of the Stern board are still in private hands in the area,  This impressive three quarter  figurehead represents a young woman, in a flowing dress, in her right hand held across her breast she holds a small posies of flowers, on her head a stylized castellated crown in Gold, with a gold necklace and  belt, with ringlets of hair on either side of her shoulders.

Professionally restored, she boasts great detail and history from the wreck site. She still maintains at the back of the Figurehead part of her “iron fixing bar” attached to the rear of the piece, allowing the carving to be securely attached to the vessel, this fixing bar fractured during the wreck allowing the Figurehead to break free and wash ashore with other fragments of the vessel structure.

This figurehead was first discovered in South Devon, not far from the wreck site, still in private hands by historian and figurehead expert Richard Hunter of England, who with research established the likely provenance of this impressive carving.
Reading: “SHIPWRECKS OF THE SOUTH HAMS” by Kendall McDonald.
Richard Hunter, Great Britain
R Merta Americana LLC

“LADY YOUNG” will be sold during the 2015 Auction Season at Northeast Auctions, (date of sale still to be announced) for more details contact





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