British Library

Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage, British Library, 96 Euston Road
London NW1, u
ntil 19th April 2015.

Boat-Cloak or Cloak-Boat, Peter Halkett (1848) on display in Lines in the Ice - this boat, developed in London and tested on the River Thames, was an early inflatable dinghy that doubled as a cloak (with a sail that doubled as an umbrella). Photograph courtesy of the British Library.

Boat-Cloak or Cloak-Boat, Peter Halkett (1848) on display in Lines in the Ice – this boat, developed in London and tested on the River Thames, was an early inflatable dinghy that doubled as a cloak (with a sail that doubled as an umbrella).
Photograph courtesy of the British Library.

The news of the discovery of one of Sir John Franklin’s lost ships (HMS Erebus) last year in the words of Philip Hatfield, the chief curator of this show, ‘has reminded us of the pull the Arctic has on our imagination. For centuries explorers have searched for routes through and resources in the Arctic, and while men like Frobisher sought gold today’s searches are for black gold. Lines in the Ice looks at this long history of exploration, the threads that link it together and the reasons we are still interested in the Arctic today.’

A map of the North Pole and parts adjoining’, Moses Pitt, from The English Atlas (1680) - the personal atlas of King Charles II.  Photograph courtesy of the British Library.

A map of the North Pole and parts adjoining’, Moses Pitt, from The English Atlas (1680) – the personal atlas of King Charles II.
Photograph courtesy of the British Library.

Indeed the show makes the point well, concentrating on the three leading Arctic explorers who sought to find the legendary Northwest Passage – Martin Frobisher, Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen. The exhibition uses items and objects, some of which are quirky, from Europe, Canada and the Arctic to give a good idea of life there.

A photograph taken during the Arctic expedition of 1875-76 on display in Lines in the Ice.  Photograph courtesy of the British Library.

A photograph taken during the Arctic expedition of 1875-76 on display in Lines in the Ice.
Photograph courtesy of the British Library.

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The world we live in, c. 1958, on display in Lines in the Ice.  Photography courtesy of British Library.

The world we live in, c. 1958, on display in Lines in the Ice.
Photography courtesy of British Library.

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