Hermione’s Lion – The pride of the floating French living museum Hermione, is a golden lion clutching a crown. Hermione is a unique project which saw the construction of Lafayette’s flagship which originally sailed to America to help the rebels in the War of Independence against the British Crown. Having recreated Lafayette’s voyage over to America, Hermione has since become both a floating museum based in the former Royal dockyard of Rochefort in the Charente-Maritime and a symbol of French artistry and pride.
It might be surprising therefore to hear that it was a Brit – one Andrew Peters – who beat off stiff competition to win the right to carve Hermione’s figure head. Winning the contract following the submission of detailed research by Maritima Woodcarving, his company, into the form of French frigate figureheads during the 1790’s, Andy carved his lion on site in Rochefort, unveiling it in November 2011. The difference between English and American figureheads – the French ones are more rampant, said Andy, known as a Ship’s Carver.
He started Maritime Woodcarving in 1990 in an effort to keep the art of the ship’s carver alive. At one time, every major ship yard would have had a ship’s carver to carve not only figureheads, but the wealth of decorative work that would have also adorned the stern and quarter galleries.
He restores figureheads for both maritime museums and collectors but also works on more contemporary forms for private clients as he feels these skills should not be confined to recreating a bye gone era – they should live and breathe in the modern world.
Visits to Hermione cost €16 for adults and €6 for children aged 6 – 15.
Photography by Sue Lowry
Hermione is located in the Charente-Maritime, a client of Magellan PR. For further information, please contact Alexandra Pinhorn (firstname.lastname@example.org), +44 (0) 7515 283 040 or Gillian Green (email@example.com) +44 (0) 7515 283 287.