Relics of the Franklin Expedition: Discovering Artifacts from the Doomed Arctic Voyage of 1845

Garth Walpole (Author)


Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition departed England in 1845 with two Royal Navy bomb vessels, 129 men and three years' worth of provisions. None were seen again until nearly a decade later, when their bleached bones, broken instruments, books, papers and personal effects began to be recovered on Canada's King William Island. These relics have since had a life of their own--photographed, analyzed, cataloged and displayed in glass cases in London. This book gives a definitive history of their preservation and exhibition from the Victorian era to the present, richly illustrated with period engravings and photographs, many never before published. Appendices provide the first comprehensive accounting of all expedition relics recovered prior to the 2014 discovery of Franklin's ship HMS Erebus.

Product Details

McFarland & Company
Publish Date
January 11, 2017
6.9 X 0.6 X 9.9 inches | 2.45 pounds
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About the Author

Garth Walpole was born in 1961 in Hobart, Tasmania. He earned a degree in history and archaeology at the University of Bangor in Wales, where his fascination with the lost Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin began. He died April 7, 2015, not long after completing this book. Russell Potter lives in Providence, Rhode Island.


"Walpole went to great effort to ensure that all historic accounts and the contexts in which specific relics were recovered were as accurate as possible, a feat that is especially impressive...extremely well researched, and all historical accounts are thoroughly cited...valuable...meticulous detail"--The Northern Mariner; "This book is a delight, a detailed treat that requires many encounters with its pages, and an archaeologist's dream. This is an intelligent, well-organized analysis of nearly every artifact found in the Canadian Arctic...recommend"--Sea History.