Beaded silk purse

A multi-colour beaded silk purse on a metal frame from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. It is decorated with a geometric pattern in red, white and blue with loops of black beads at the bottom. The beads are threaded up then knitted. It has a plain weave silk lining. The purse belonged to a crew member of Franklin's Arctic expedition.

The beaded purse was found at the boat site in Erebus Bay by Captain F. L. McClintock's sledge team on 30 May 1859, as part of the search expedition led by McClintock The site had been visited and partially investigated by Lt. William Hobson on 24 May but his report does not list everything he saw or removed. McClintock records ’A small bead purse'. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), page 367].

The spring hooks (clips) were displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, Case 2, No. 62. 'Bead purse'. The item is also shown in - 'Stereoscopic slides of the relics of Sir John Franklin's Expedition' photographed by Lieutenant Cheyne RN, at the United Services Museum, Whitehall, No. 5 (top right corner).

Object Details

ID: AAA2181
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Purse
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Fox (1855)
Date made: Before 1845
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 13 mm x 110 mm x 70 mm

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