Last week, my colleague Elizabeth Debeljak showed us a book from the museum’s Rare Book collection, Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the year 1819, 20, 21 and 22, by Sir John Franklin.

This week, I thought I’d give you a good look at some of the beautiful illustrations that this 190-year-old book contains. This is just a selection of the aquatint prints and engravings.

Plate titles are provided as they appear in the book’s List of Plates.

A scientific colour illustration of a fish.
“Plate 26, Back’s Grayling’s”. Facing page 711. Aquatint print. The species is now called Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus). Image: Drawn by J. Curtis; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
A close-up of the head of the Arctic Grayling.
A detail of “Plate 26, Back’s Grayling’s”. Facing page 711. Aquatint print. Image: Drawn by J. Curtis; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
A colour illustration showing eight people sitting around a cooking fire inside a tent.
“Interior of a Cree Indian Tent”. Facing page 169. Aquatint print. Image: Drawn by Lieut. Hood, R.N.; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
A colour illustration of British tents near shore.
“A View of the Arctic Sea, from the Mouth of the Copper-Mine River, at midnight”. Facing page 361. Aquatint print. Image: Drawn by Lieut. Back, R.N.; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
Colour illustration of a man and child in period dress.
“Portrait of Akaitcho and his Son”. Facing page 203. Full plate. Aquatint print. Image: Drawn by Lieut. Hood, R.N.; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
A black and white illustration of men portaging a large canoe past a waterfall.
“The Trout Fall”. Facing page 37. Engraving. Image: Drawn by Lieut. Hood, R.N.; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
An incomplete map of coastlines in the Arctic Ocean.
“General chart of the Arctic Sea”. At the end of the book. Engraving. Image: Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature
The book open to a black and white scientific illustration of a plant.
One of “The Four plates of Plants at the end of the Appendix and immediately preceding the Maps”. Engraving. Image: Drawn by J. Curtis; Kyla Ubbink © Canadian Museum of Nature

Title: Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the year 1819, 20, 21 and 22
Author: Sir John Franklin.
Printer/Publisher: John Murray, Albemarle-Street
Printing location: London, England
Date printed: 1823
Dimensions: 28 cm × 23 cm × 7 cm
Number of pages: Approximately 800
Illustrations: 26 aquatint prints, 4 hand-coloured engravings and 4 engraved maps

Read Elizabeth’s article about the recent conservation work to restore this historical book before we put it on display in the museum: A Rare Book by Sir John Franklin Expedition Receives TLC.