M965.103.10 | Winter quarters, Franklin Expedition, painted lantern slide, 1855-60

Winter quarters, Franklin Expedition, painted lantern slide, 1855-60
Anonyme - Anonymous
1855-1860, 19th century
Paint on glass - Hand painted
7 x 7 cm
Purchase from Arts & Antiques
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Art (2774) , Painting (2229) , painting (2227)
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Keys to History

This picture illustrates the winter camp of an Arctic expedition in the 19th century. The boat was converted into a true home on water. A roof made of planks and of canvas was built on the bridge; snow was used for insulation by packing it along the hull. To survive, the crew had to have a sizable reserve of food. Canning of food, invented in Great Britain at the beginning of the 19th century, made it possible to make lengthy stays in isolated regions. However, the process, which still had some imperfections, led to the death of some members of Franklin's expedition, poisoned by the lead found in the welded joints of this tinned food. The explorers could also obtain fresh meat and fish through their contacts with the Inuit. Time permitting, the crew could then pursue their hunt using dogsleds they had borrowed from them.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    In 1850, the crews of the HMS Assistance and of the Pioneer uncovered proof of the passage of Franklin's crew: scraps of clothing and a little tinned food, but no documents.

  • Where

    The search expeditions discovered that Franklin's crew had set up its first winter camp at Beechey Island, where three men died from lead poisoning.

  • When

    In 1984, the almost perfectly conserved body of seaman John Torrington, a member of John Franklin's last expedition, was discovered on Beechey Island.

  • Who

    Francis Leopold McClintock was part of the first search expedition in 1852-1854; he then led that of 1857-1859 during which he discovered signs of the Franklin expedition.