Image: Willem Van de Velde the Elder, 1667, Gallery and Transom. Collection: Swedish National Maritime Museum. Public domain image.
Working during the Dutch Golden Age, he created the Gallery and transom image, above, 1667. that is in the Collection of the Swedish National Maritime Museum. Dutch Admiral Ruyter is said to have described van de Velde as wanting to be rowed in a battle area so he could better record vessels. Van de Velde later lived in England and worked depicting vessels for the British against whom the Dutch had long been in conflict.
Photos and information will be added soon. Excellent examples survive of figurehead studies in wax.
Depicting conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066, the Bayeux Tapestry includes animal figureheads on vessel bows.