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HMS 'Erebus' Passing Through the Chain of Bergs, 1842

Photo credit: National Maritime Museum

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This painting captures a dramatic scene from Rear-Admiral Sir James Clark Ross’s Antarctic expedition of 1839–1843. Ross was given command of HMS ‘Erebus’ and HMS ‘Terror’ to carry out a magnetic survey in the Antarctic region. The expedition resulted in various discoveries, including the area subsequently known as the Ross Ice Barrier. The artist portrays the Antarctic as a world of grandeur and the sublime: the night scene, the agitated waves and the towering icebergs dwarfing and isolating the man-made ships, eerily lit by flashes of light on their dangerous passage through the pack with broken masts.

National Maritime Museum



oil on canvas


H 78.8 x W 111.76 cm

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National Maritime Museum

Romney Road, Greenwich, London, Greater London SE10 9NF England

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