The first man to traverse the Northwest Passage
By FAWEKNER, W. H., 1853
A Chart Shewing the North West Passage Discovered by Capt. R. le M. McClure H.M. Ship Investigator; also the Coast Explored in Search of Sir J. Franklin, by Sir Jas. Ross 1848 & 9… Capt. Sir Edwd. Belcher 1852 & 53… by E.A. Inglefield, Commander H.M.S. Phoenix.
- Author: FAWEKNER, W. H.
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Hydrographic Office, Admiralty
- Publication date: 14 October 1853.
- Physical description: Lithograph chart, manuscript inscription upper left, mounted on linen, Admiralty stamp below title, stain above title, a few minor tears to margins skilfully repaired, loss to lower right corner repaired not affecting image.
- Dimensions: 475 by 945mm (18.75 by 37.25 inches).
- Inventory reference: 13006
Although Inglefield had not succeeded in his original mission to rescue Franklin, he did return McClure’s crew to safety, and was subsequently able to make this chart of the newly-discovered North-West Passage, the first hydrographic representation of the area. Although he produced many watercolour paintings of the Arctic landscapes and wrote a book recounting his expedition, Inglefield himself was not responsible for the drafting of this map, which was drawn by W.H. Fawekner, Second Master aboard the Phoenix, and published by John and Charles Walker.
Fawekner has also included a list of all previous voyages to the area, which were sent by the Admiralty to search for Franklin, these included: Sir James Ross (1848–1849); Sir John Richardson (1848–49); Captain Austin (1850); Mr Penny (1850); Mr Rae (1851); Mr Kennedy and M. Bellot (1852); Captain Ingelfield (1852–1853); Captain Sir Edward Belcher (1852–1853). The voyages are clearly marked on the map, with hatchured lines to the coast denoting each voayge’s extent.
To the upper left of the present example is a hand-written dedication by the Captain Inglefield to Bobbington School.
Rare we have been able to trace only three institutional examples of this chart, held at the National Maritime Museum, the University of Queensland and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.