The famous 1860s tea clipper, and speedster tall ship, Cutty Sark has a rot-damaged figurehead (after 100 years of sea air exposure) at the docks of Greenwich London. So, a new figurehead was commissioned, a new sculpture, named Nannie.
The figurehead Nannie is one of the most recognizable parts of Cutty Sark. The name ‘Nannie’ comes from Tam O’Shanter, a poem by Robert Burns. The poem also was the inspiration for the ship’s name, Cutty Sark, which is also salacious. The poem tells the story of Tam, the farmer, who encounters a group of witches in Alloway Kirk – including the beautiful witch Nannie who is scantily clad, dressed only in a ‘cutty sark’ – an archaic Scottish name for a short nightdress.