Over the past twenty years Richard Hunter has become increasingly involved in a number of important Figurehead restoration projects around the world, including the replication of lost original Figureheads. Working closely with traditional woodcarvers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the United States of America, the art of Figurehead and Maritime Carving is not lost. With highly detailed research work and the right craftsman it’s still possible in this modern day and age to have a traditional figurehead carved, however for Richard it’s the survival of original figureheads and their safekeeping that’s most important to him.
Over the years so many fine looking Figureheads have been lost due to apathy and neglect. Important and valuable relics of the world’s rich maritime heritage have been allowed to just simply rot away; the catalogue of lost carvings grows each year!
Conservation, restoration and at times just a refurbishment can help hold back the advancing tide of time, and need not be too expensive. With his unique understanding and detailed knowledge of the subject, Richard has been able to bring back to life a number of important and valuable Figureheads for both private and public owners, including Maritime Museums, The Royal Navy and many other corporate and private owners.
The market value of original ships figureheads has increased remarkably over the past 5 or 6 years both in the United Kingdom and the USA, what was once dismissed as Folk Art now has a value in it’s own right, at the same time visitors to Maritime Museums and other related collections around the World are increasingly appreciating the significance of Figureheads as an important part of our Maritime and Naval heritage, Children in particular find them fascinating, as they bring alive the romance of the sea, one of the few objects from the vessel to have survived, with it’s own history and persona.
The size of restoration projects already undertaken by Richard and his colleague Phil Hudson of Dartmouth in South Devon varies considerably from small merchant Figureheads of around three feet high to vast Naval Figureheads standing ten feet and more, each one is given the same care and attention to detail, with a full pictorial report of before and after views.