British Arctic Expedition interest, a Victorian silver freedom casket modelled as a loaded sledge,
by Hartmann and Bauscher, London 1876,
the domed hinged cover mounted with enamel Union Jack, with a later plastic support, tied rope borders, the silver body mounted with the arms of The City of London, The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, The Arctic Medal, the crest and motto of Nares, and with an intertwined rope work monogram, the reverse with an erased cartouche, mounted on an oak sledge with netting, on a hard stone and mother-of-pearl base on a rectangular ebonised plinth, length 20cm, height on plinth 12.5cm.
Provenance: presented to the current owner by an Admiral who worked for the Monaco Hydrographic Bureau.
Vice-Admiral Sir George Nares was a Naval Officer and Arctic explorer. Educated at the Royal Naval School, he joined the Royal Navy in 1847, and was posted to Australia. On his return, he applied for a place on the Arctic Expedition of 1852-53, and is on the published medal roll as "Mate". This was the last expedition sent to look for the remains of Sir John Franklin, who had disappeared while attempting to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic in 1847. Nares went on to be Captain of HMS Alert and Commander of the Arctic Expedition 1875-76. On this expedition, he became the first explorer to take his ships all the way north through the channel between Greenland and Ellesmere Island, which is now named Nares Strait in his honour. He was also later awarded gold medals from the Royal Geographical Society and the French Société de Geographie.