Dover Coloring Book

Text Box with description of Book

Oh, my, but this was a difficult book for me! For people who just want to color the pictures, they are actually quite simple, but nooooo, I have to research every single one so that I can color it accurately, and therein lies the problem, because these are not easy finds online. And when one does find them, their accuracy is still questionable, because many are models or replicas, which may or may not be true to the originals. Add to that, Batchelor includes colors and coloring suggestions that in most cases were not even close to the examples I found online. And add to even that, figures are not his artistic specialty, and many of the faces are distorted beyond recognition, and the figures themselves often differ considerably from what I was seeing online. His little ships are quite nice, though.

OK, so those are the negative comments, but I have just as many positive ones, the most positive being that I entered a world of which I knew absolutely nothing here, and it is a fascinating one. I even bought a huge book, Old Ship Figure-Heads and Sterns, to read as I colored, and believe me, I really know a lot more about ship construction and figureheads than I did before I began. I became absolutely fascinated, in fact. Not only with the figureheads, either. Because I am indulging (obsessed) with reading classic literature, and English novels of the 1800s, in my opinion, are the epitome of the "Golden Age" of novels. I therefore spend much of my literary journeys upon the sea, 'cause that was the place to be in England in the 1800s. Ever in a state of confusion with nautical language and terms, I now do not feel quite so uninformed, and can actually picture in my head where the people are located on the ship.

Unfortunately, Dover has taken this book out of print, and that was a mistake. It is really one of a kind, and if you can find a copy at Amazon or elsewhere, grab it up. There are 28 pages, and a couple have more than one figurehead, each with a description of the ship on which they were mounted. I have to say that in my efforts to color these accurately, the final result was not always artistically pleasing. Most of the images I found online were not that great, and I usually only had one choice which was in bad lighting or a wrong angle. Having said that, here are my eight choices. Also included are some images I found online of figureheads that are pictured in the book. I hope you enjoy these, and get inspired to investigate this amazing subject.

The first example is from the English barque, Mary Hay, named after the owner's wife. She now resides in the Valhalla Museum, Scilly Isles, a source of many of these figures. She is white with gold trim, but according to Batchelor, she wore a dark red dress and a white shawl.

The next one is from the U. S. S. Delaware, and the figure came to be known as Tecumseh, it is really a likeness of Tamanend, the Delaware chief. I found him in numerous places, and in most of them he was metallic, bronzy or copper with a patina.

U. S. S. Delaware

Mary Hay

Next is pictured the figurehead from the H.M. S. Asia, built in 1811 at the British naval stockyard in Bombay. He was fashioned from teak, easily obtained in India, and now resides at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut, also the home of many of these retired figures.

After that comes the figurehead from the H. M. S. Bellerophon built in 1786. She was actually one of the easier ones to find online, with several different angles to view. She now resides at the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth (England). She is pictured below.

H. M. S. Bellerophon

H.M. S. Asia

The first image below is from the H. M. S. Albatross, showing both the figurehead and the billet head. I found the figurehead in several views, but not the billet head. The ship was built in 1874.

The second is from the Creole, a whaler built in 1847-48 in Brooklyn. She is also pictured below.


H. M. S. Albatross

And finally, here is the figurehead from the U. S. S. Columbia, which was destroyed during the War of 1812 by our own military in the dockyard before she even went to sea, to prevent her from falling into British hands. I couldn't find a thing about the figurehead, so I (sort of) used Batchelor's suggestions to color her.

And last is another figurehead of which little is known. I copied her when I found her online, which is a good thing because I never saw her again. According to Batchelor, she is known as the "Lady with a Scarf," and may have never been on a ship at all, but was a display in the carver Isaac Fowle's shop. The colors given by Batchelor are nothing like the figure pictured, yet it has to be the same one. No additional information was supplied online either, that I could find. You can also see her below.

Lady with a Scarf

U. S. S. Columbia

And here are the real figureheads, all included in the coloring book. In addition to the three mentioned above, we see the H. M. S. Ajax, (along with the H. M. S. Bulldog, which is not in the coloring book) They reside at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. Next is the immaculate original eagle from the U.S.S. Lancaster, which now resides in the Mariners' Museum, Newport New, Virginia.

Eagle from the U.S.S. Lancaster

H. M. S. Bellerophon

H. M. S. Ajax, (along with the H. M. S. Bulldog)

At the very bottom is the H. M. S. Warrior, whose figurehead is shown on the cover of the coloring book. The ship, and figurehead are completely restored and resides at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (see link above). Here is a cool article from Wikipedia.

Lady with a Scarf


H. M. S. Warrior

Wow! Isn't this all so interesting! Do some investigation on these ships and figureheads and you will find yourself addicted.

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