Collection consists of lithographed views relating to Arctic exploration in search of Sir John Franklin's ill-fated 1845 expedition to the Arctic on board HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.
Captain Edward Augustus Inglefield set out from Britain on his search in July 1852, commanding Lady Franklin's private steamer Isabel, seven years after Franklin had left on his ill-fated search for the fabled Northwest Passage. Once Inglefield had reached the Arctic, a search and survey of Greenland's west coast was made; Ellesmere Island was resighted and named in honour of the president of the Royal Geographical Society; Smith Sound was penetrated further than any known records; Jones Sound was also searched; and a landing was made at Beechey Island in Lancaster Sound. No sign, however, of Franklin's expedition was found. Finally, before the onset of winter forced Inglefield to turn homewards, the expedition searched and charted much of Baffin Island's eastern coast.
Despite finding no traces of the Franklin expedition, Inglefield was fêted on his return for the surveying his expedition had achieved. The Royal Geographical Society awarded him its 1853 Patron's Medal "for his enterprising survey of the coasts of Baffin Bay, Smith Sound and Lancaster Sound."
Inglefield made two further voyages to the Arctic, to supply the search for the Franklin expedition overseen by Sir Edward Belcher. He returned from the first of these in 1853, bringing with him the first officer to have traversed the Northwest Passage, Samuel Gurney Cresswell of HMS Investigator. (The Investigator had also been sent to join the search for the Franklin expedition, but starting from the western side of northern Canada.)
Arriving back in the Arctic the following year, 1854, Inglefield found Belcher's ships abandoned, save one to which the crews had retreated. Most of these men returned with Inglefield to Britain.
Soon after his return from the Arctic, Inglefield was sent to join the Crimean War in the Black Sea as captain of HMS Firebrand, where he took part in the siege of Sevastopol. After the Crimean War, he captained a number of ships and continued to rise through the ranks. In 1869 he was made a Rear Admiral and three years later was appointed Superintendent of the Royal Naval dockyard in Malta. Promotions to Vice Admiral and then Admiral followed, between which he was knighted.
Inglefield retired in 1885. Thereafter he devoted much of his time to painting and his watercolours of Arctic landscapes were exhibited at several art galleries in London. He died, aged seventy-four, in 1894.
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