Piece of stained sail canvas

A short piece of stained and creased sail canvas from the 1845 Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The canvas has been roughly cut along one edge while the opposite side is becoming frayed. It also has one selvage edge and a number of small pin holes with rust around them.

The canvas 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 ’piece of canvas'. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), page 366]. He also described in greater detail in the main text '...a large remnant of light canvas, commonly known as No. 8, was found...' [page 291].

The canvas may have been displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, but there are a number of possible descriptions that could be it or other pieces from later expeditions. 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 left corner below the medical bottles).

The piece of canvas was previously thought to have been retrieved by Lt. Frederick Schwata's 1878-80 Expedition from the Northern Cairn, Cape Felix on 3rd July 1879. The provenance may have been confused by the fact it was formerly displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich in the Franklin Room, case 7, number 6 'Portion of a seaman's bag and portion of a sail from Cape Felix'.

Object Details

ID: AAA2245
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Sail canvas
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, Schwatka, 1878-1880
Date made: 1845
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 222 x 89 mm

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