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    This painting of HMS Resolute in Search of Sir John Franklin recalls the search for the north west passage and British explorer Sir John Franklin. He had served in the Battle of Trafalgar and afterwards became one of the most famous names in Polar exploration. He set sail for the North Pole and thence into the Northwest passage from the Bering Strait, searching for a route which would connect trade between the Atlantic and Pacific via the Arctic. Franklin’s ships were last seen by a whaler off Baffin Bay in August 1845, and they had enough supplies to last until summer 1848 When painted by Francois Etienne Musin the explorer and his crew aboard HMS Erebus and Terror were understood to be in difficulty in the Canadian Arctic. Their whereabouts remained unknown. Led by the Admiralty and championed energetically by Lady Franklin numerous searches were conducted from Canada. In 1850 a squadron of four vessels commanded by HMS Resolute was dispatched, using dog sleds and even primitive hydrogen balloons with messages attached. Unbeknownst to those at home, Franklin had already died some three years earlier. Franklin’s expedition, the countless searches led to find him, and later the tragic fate that befell the men caught the imagination of the Romantic movement. The wrecks of Franklin’s ships were discovered in 2014 and 2016 off King William Island. As climate change disrupts ice in the Arctic, the North-West passage has today become navigable for small ships. The painting was sold for £100,000 at Sotheby’s in December.

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