Ship figurehead in East Looe – LDP – Day 16

The Looe Daily Photo Day 16Have you ever taken a wander through the lanes in East Looe?

They’re probably not called the lanes and I’d love to know if there is a local term for them, but whatever they’re called, I know that most visitors to Looe never explore them. Most people tend to stick to the main shopping streets on the way to East Looe Beach but in doing so miss some interesting and unique things.

Anyway, if you care to take a wander around in the heart of the old town in East Looe you’ll see this figurehead on the corner of a building. My guess is it’s a ship’s figurehead and the building was once a pub although do feel free to correct me 😉 The carving is looking a little tired at the moment and could do with a lick of paint but he’s still very charming none the less.

To see today’s picture of the figurehead and leave a comment, click the “Read More…” link.

Ship figurehead in East Looe – Looe Daily Photos – Day 16

Presuming the carving is indeed a ship’s figurehead or meant to be, I thought you might like some very basic figurehead background information.

Early ships often had some form of bow ornamentation (Vikings) but the feature was made popular during the 16th century with the building of huge galleons.

The purpose of the figurehead was to indicate the name of the ship but in the case of naval ships, figureheads were used to demonstrate the wealth and might of a country. During the Baroque period ships boasted enormous figureheads weighing several tons. These massive carvings were placed on the very tip of the hull and as such could adversely affect the sailing qualities of the ship. Eventually, this and the cost of production led to figureheads being reduced in size until the practice was more-or-less disappeared by 1800.

There was a revival after the Napoleonic wars when figureheads were introduced again but by this time they were small waist-up busts rather than full figures.

Please leave a comment or let me know about our figurehead below. Cheers. Chris.


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About iLoveLooe

Cornwall was always one of our dream places to live, so we upped sticks in 2007 and moved to Looe. I now run iLoveLooe.co.uk and various social media locations for Looe on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Say 'Hi' sometime.