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Captain Markham's most northerly encampment

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
User collections Snow scenes by hedser@nmm.ac.uk
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Markham, Albert Hastings

Object details:

Object ID BHC0640
Description In 1875 a Royal Naval North Pole expedition set off under the command of George Nares. His ships ‘Alert’ and ‘Discovery’ used the route north through Smith Sound pioneered by American explorers Kane and Hall. ‘Alert’ wintered at a record latitude on the north coast of Ellesmere Island. Three sledge parties set out the following spring: Pelham Aldrich headed west along the coast, Lewis Beaumont from ‘Discovery’ proceeded to the north coast of Greenland, and Albert Markham left for the Pole. Markham's man-hauled party reached the furthest point north achieved so far before being forced to turn back. The scene of the spectacular encampment is set underneath the darkness of a cloudy arctic sky and amongst blocks of ice in front of a vast frozen landscape. A couple of figures, whose footprints are visible in the snow, are keeping close to two tents. Strong lighting from the left and a marked formal distinction between the fore- and middleground give the composition the character of a stage-set, although the painter emphasizes the aspect of documentation with detailed dress and flags. The subject matter and small, intimate composition are not typical of Beechey’s style of grand seascapes, which makes proving the attribution difficult. Admiral Richard Brydges Beechey (1808-1895) was the son of the portrait painter Sir William Beechey. He entered the Royal Naval College in 1821 and probably trained under the drawing master Jon Christian Schetky. During his naval career he also took part in a voyage of discovery taking him to the Pacific. Beechey retired from the Navy in 1864, but continued to paint and to exhibit at the Royal Academy. He specialized in maritime subjects (BHC1270).
Date made 19th century

Artist/Maker Beechey, Richard Brydges
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on paper
Measurements Painting: 228 mm x 343 mm
  • Captain Markham's most northerly encampment (BHC0640)
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