This illustration is by Walter May from the copy of his book that he presented to John Barrow, Jr., who in turn presented it to the British Museum Library. In 1852-54 May had accompanied Sir Edward Belcher on his Franklin search expedition.
John Rae of the Hudson's Bay Company undertook several searches for Franklin while on exploring expeditions for the Company. In 1854 he learnt from the Inuit that in about 1850 a party of white men had been seen north of King William Island walking towards Back River, and that later several corpses had been seen west of that river. The Inuit had taken relics from the corpses, and Rae purchased those in this illustration, among them a silver plate engraved “Sir John Franklin, K. C. H." Rae was the first to send definite news about the fate of the Franklin expedition.