Panoramic views

Panoramic illustrations of the Arctic landscape were a feature of many accounts.

​As the two images below demonstrate, this practice was underpinned primarily by scientific priorities; the specific position and time of observation are regularly presented, and the reproduction of the landscape from different locations and times of day (sometimes as many as five at once) is intended to privilege precision and consistency over feeling. Though this mode seems a world away from the sublime vistas generated by later expeditions, these illustrations feature some of the characteristics associated with sublimity, in particular the sense of scale communicated by the diminutive ships; both illustrations include two vessels so that the magnitude of the coastal cliffs is not mistaken. Though depicted here from a safe distance, the scene, from Phipps' Voyage, of a ship passing perilously between crags would become a frequent subject of the arctic sublime, perhaps most memorably in Gustave Doré's illustration for "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (see "Poets and the Arctic Landscape").

Sir John Cleveley Junior, "View of the Land from Cloven Cliff to Hakluits Headland taken July 18th at 10 P.M." and "View of the Land round the Bay where the Racehorse anchored July 4th at 6 P.M.," from Constantine John Phipps, A Voyage Towards the North Pole Undertaken By His Majesty's Command, 1773 (London: W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, 1774) (Archive.org: https://archive.org/stream/voyagetowardsnor00mulg#page/48).




F. W. Beechey and I. Clark, Views of Cape Warrender, Sir James Lancaster's Sound, and Barrows Straight, from Sir William Edward Parry, Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage (London: John Murray, 1821), 32. (https://archive.org/details/journalofvoyagef00inparr).