Voyage of the Polaris

Title

Voyage of the Polaris

Subject

Virginia
Art

Description

Maritime painter William Bedford was well known for his ship portraiture that employ painstaking precision, clarity and preoccupation with light. Intrigued with the challenge of new artistic frontiers through scientific exploration, he traveled to the New England and Canadian shores and further north into the Arctic area of the Labrador coast. Voyage of the Polaris depicts the 1871 ill-fated arctic exploration vessel icebound in the frozen sea of Thank-God Harbor off the coast of Greenland. En route to its final destination, Captain Francis Hall died mysteriously and it was speculated that the ship's doctor murdered him. Shortly thereafter, Polaris struck an iceberg. Bradford's painting depicts a desperate moment of action: the 34-man crew quickly off-loading provisions to lighten the ship's weight, but their efforts were unsuccessful. although the crew watched from the frozen tundra as the ship capsized, all members were eventually rescued. Although Bradford did not have direct experience with Polaris, he was familiar with the voyage from published accounts of its expedition.

Creator

William Bradford (American, 1823-1892)

Rights

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

Format

image/jpeg

Type

Image

Identifier

TAU_ART_000113
2002.004

Date Created

1875

Is Part Of

Taubman Museum of Art

Medium

painting (visual works)
oil

Provenance

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. University Libraries
Taubman Museum of Art (Repository)
Acquired with fund provided by the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust

Files

TAU_ART_000113_0002.jpg

Tags

Citation

William Bradford (American, 1823-1892), “Voyage of the Polaris,” Southwest Virginia Digital Library, accessed September 16, 2019, http://di.lib.vt.edu/items/show/938.