more sixties fashion, and an arctic visit

I had fun with yesterday’s drawing and followed it up with this one. (Here’s the colour art, line art and original catalogue photo.)

The rain had me climbing the walls yesterday, so when it let up, I went out for a breath of fresh air and stopped by the National Maritime Museum to see their latest exhibition, The North-West Passage: an Arctic Obsession. They had some great arctic gear on display, and if I thought pease pudding (from yesterday looked a bit stodgy, you should’ve seen the hardtack and pemmican these guys had to gnaw on.

I stopped to look at this little phrasebook, Esquimaux & English Vocabulary for the use of the Arctic Expedition by John Washington, 1850. It’s hard to make out in my photo, but here’s the list of phrases Mr Washington thought most useful for communicating with the local Innuit:

We are in search of English ships (= umiak-soarnik maggo-inik kenner-pogut)*
Which have been five years in the ice
Have you heard anything of such ships?
Make it known among all the Eskimós or Innuít
That the Queen of England will give a large reward
To any of the Innuít who will bring news of them
Should you meet any white men
Treat them kindly, and you shall be rewarded.

*I can totally imagine how badly this would have been pronounced, in a toffee British accent.

In the next room, they had a video of interviews with modern-day Innuit who are rightly annoyed that the sea is lapping at their front doorsteps. Here’s a handy-dandy surgeon’s medicine chest from about 1845 that got chucked off a ship when she got trapped in the ice and the crew had to lighten their load.

Another fun thing was spotting Philip Pullman’s Svalbard references for His Dark Materials, including rear-admiral and explorer William Parry and Yorkshire whaler and mapper Will Scoresby… Pullman didn’t have to invent many names for those books.

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