C1895

The North-West Passage: H.M.S. “Erebus” and “Terror,” 1849-1850. “They Forged the Last Link with their Lives”

Dramatic large engraving of one only four works that Smith exhibited there and probably the best known of various paintings prompted by the fiftieth anniversary of the departure of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition from Britain in 1845. The … Read Full Description

$A 275

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S/N: TG-ARC-950725112–314348
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Details

Full Title:

The North-West Passage: H.M.S. “Erebus” and “Terror,” 1849-1850. “They Forged the Last Link with their Lives”

Date:

C1895

Condition:

Minor wear to folds, otherwise in good condition. With centrefold as issued.

Technique:

Engraving.

Image Size: 

505mm 
x 305mm

Paper Size: 

582mm 
x 380mm
AUTHENTICITY
The North-West Passage: H.M.S. "Erebus" and "Terror," 1849-1850. "They Forged the Last Link with their Lives" - Antique View from 1895

Genuine antique
dated:

1895

Description:

Dramatic large engraving of one only four works that Smith exhibited there and probably the best known of various paintings prompted by the fiftieth anniversary of the departure of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition from Britain in 1845. The ‘last links’ in question refer to the claim that Franklin completed the discovery of a formerly uncharted North-West Passage route through the Arctic archipelago, before Robert McClure did so during the Franklin searches and sent back the news.

This idea was promoted by Lady Franklin, based on the findings of the ‘Fox’ expedition of Francis Leopold McClintock: ironically perhaps, Franklin had in effect done so by a different route, a fact not recognised until after McLure’s success. The actual origin of the phrase is attributed by Lady Franklin to Sir John Richardson, in a letter to Palmerston published in the 1859 edition of McClintock’s ‘The Voyage of the Fox’. The painting itself is based on McClintock’s find of a boat in Erebus Bay containing human remains, but since it was already long known by 1895 that Franklin died before the expedition abandoned its ships, he himself is not one of the figures shown. While this is Smith’s best-known painting, he is an artist of whom little appears to be recorded and over whom there is some confusion. He seems to have been a historical and portrait painter exhibiting between 1890 and 1925 in various places in the UK.

From the original edition of The Graphic.

William Thomas Smith (1895 - 1936)

William Thomas smith (1895-1936) was a British artist about whom surprisingly little is known despite the fact that his portrait of Sir Henry Mortimer Durand (1903-04) hangs in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery and what is considered his best-known painting, “They Forged the Last Links with Their Lives”: Sir John Franklin’s Men Dying by Their Boat during the North-west Passage Expedition (1895), hangs in the National Maritime Museum.

View other items by William Thomas Smith

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