Following a distinguished career in the British navy, Sir John Ross turned his attention to Arctic exploration. Though many explorers had failed before him, in 1818 Ross commanded an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. This sea route connected the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Ocean, and was notoriously difficult to navigate. In the event Ross’ first expedition did not improve existing knowledge of the region but did open up a route for whaling ships to northern Baffin Bay. Ross would make two further voyages to the Arctic, the second between 1829 and 1833, the third in 1850. These plates are from an edition of Ross' travel account, AVoyage of Discovery, in the Grenville Collection.
The Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge holds eighty-one original watercolours by Ross from the Second Voyage.
- Full title:
- A Voyage of Discovery, made under the orders of the Admiralty, in his Majesty's ships Isabella and Alexander for the purpose of exploring Baffin's Bay, and enquiring into the possibility of a North-West Passage
- 2 February 1819, London
- John Murray
- Aquatint / Etching / Hand-Colouring / View
- Robert Havell, Sir John Ross
- Usage terms
- Public Domain
- Held by
- British Library
- Article by:
- The search for the Northwest Passage
The early 19th century witnessed a number of expeditions to Arctic regions using Royal Navy ships. Some explorers also undertook epic overland journeys and surveyed miles of Arctic coastline.
- Article by:
- Phil Hatfield
- Science and nature, Military and maritime
Arctic ice has long proved a stern adversary to explorers, especially those seeking navigable passages through the polar regions. Dr Philip Hatfield explores the representation of this fearful foe by explorers across the centuries.