Fox (1855); Exploration/research vessel; Recreation vessel; Steam Yacht

A 1:120 scenic model with a waterline model of the steam yacht ‘Fox’. The hull is carved from a solid block of wood and painted, and is complete with mast, spars and sails furled, with simulated steam from the funnel.

The ‘Fox’ was a three-masted schooner launched in 1855 and used by Captain McClintock RN from July 1857 to September 1859 to search for members of the ill-fated expedition to find the North-West Passage, led by Sir John Franklin, which had departed ten years earlier in 1845 (Royal Naval Museum catalogue entry p. 16). The fate of Franklin’s expedition was the subject of great public interest since they had failed to return and McClintock’s voyage had been preceded by many inconclusive attempts to discover what had happened to Franklin.

The ‘Fox’ wintered first in the ice of Baffin Bay, but spent the second winter at the eastern end of Bellot Strait. The west coast of King William Island was searched by Lt. William R. Hobson RN, who found there a record deposited by Captain Crozier a decade before. This told of Franklin’s death in 1847, of the abandoning of the ships in 1848 and of the impending start of the 1,200 mile trek for Back’s Fish River with ‘105 souls’, 24 already having died. McClintock searched the east coast of the Island and then conformed Hobson’s discoveries of record and relics on the west. He also obtained proof that some members of the expedition had reached Simpson Strait, thereby discovering a North-West Passage, but no survivors were found. Having finally managed to ascertain the fate of the Franklin expedition, the ‘Fox’ met with great acclaim on its return in 1859.

Object Details

ID: SLR0242
Collection: Ship models
Type: Waterline model; Rigged model; Sails furled
Display location: Display - Polar Worlds Gallery
Creator: Unknown
Vessels: Fox (1855)
Date made: circa 1855
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Royal Naval Museum Greenwich Collection
Measurements: Overall model: 358 x 667 x 464 mm; Base: 99 x 688 x 487 mm

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