A ship's ornaments do not make a ship sail any better, yet ships have been decorated in all times and in all places.

Greeks, Romans, Vikings and Dutchmen: they all decorated their ships with paintings, woodcuts, statues and images packed full of symbolism. Even today, the waters teem with colourful rudder blades, rudderheads, mast shields, mast tips and bow figureheads.

the beautiful ship decorations in the east wing of The National Maritime Museum

'The ship decorations' offers a fascinating look at the varied and colourful beauty of ship decorations and the craftsmanship behind them.