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[Arctic Life Portfolio]

Identifier: oversize-Ayer-Art-Arctic.Life

Scope and Content of the Collection

Portfolio of forty-five prints arranged in three custom clamshell boxes.


  • Creation: approximately 1821-1828



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The [Arctic Life Portfolio] is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The [Arctic Life Portfolio] is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Edward Francis Finden

Born in 1791, Edward Francis Finden was an English line engraver whose work, along with that of his brother William Finden, became extremely popular in the middle of the nineteenth century. Frequently working alongside his brother, Finden provided scores of meticulously rendered steel engraved illustrations to supplement the popular literary forms of his day, notably providing engravings for annuals, books of beauty and poetry, popular literature, and works of non-fiction. Finden died at St. John's Wood, London on February 9, 1857 at the age of sixty-five.

Biography of William Westall

Born in 1781 in Hertford, England, the peripatetic landscape artist William Westall became renowned during his lifetime for his carefully composed and seamlessly executed depictions of the exotic and faraway places he visited. After his admittance to the Royal Academy School in 1799, Westall was selected to serve as the landscape artist accompanying Matthew Flinder's Investigator expedition to Australia, during which he completed a large number of pencil-and-wash drawings of Australia. Later travelling to China, India, Madeira, and Jamaica, Westall's unfamiliar and alluring landscapes were well suited for reproduction and became quite popular with the British public. Though elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1812 and despite the frequent display of his work at the Royal Academy, Westall was never elected an academician. Westall died at St. John's Wood, London, on January 22, 1850 at the age of sixty-eight.


5.3 Linear Feet (3 custom boxes)


Forty-five India proof prints created from sketches and drawings made by members of expeditions lead by Sir William Edward Parry and Sir John Ross to explore the Arctic and to discover a Northwest passage on His Majesty's Ships Helca, Griper, and Fury. Prints are unsigned. Original drawings attributed to Capt. Lyon, Capt. Hoppner, Lt. Beechey, Lt. H. N. Head, and Lt. Back. Engravings and illustrations created by Edward Francis Finden and William Westall. Prints published in London by John Murray from ca. 1821-1828. Prints depict scenes from the expedition as well as the domestic life and customs of the Arctic's indigenous peoples.


Prints are organized in the following series

Series 1: Prints 1-15
Box 1
Series 2: Prints 16-30
Box 2
Series 2: Prints 31-45
Box 3

Collection Stack Location

2 44 5



Processed by

Elizabeth McKinley and Gordon Dearborn Wilkins, 2015.

Inventory of the [Arctic Life Portfolio], approximately 1821-1828
Elizabeth McKinley and Gordon Dearborn Wilkins
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States