Rare broadsheet detailing one of the most important Arctic expeditions
By LANE, W. , 1820

Capt. Parry's Discoveries in the Polar Regions, 1819-1820. Compiled and Drawn, from the Admiralty Records, by W. Lane, Hydrographer and Teacher of Navigation, Naval Academy, 79, Leadenhall Street, London.

Polar World
  • Author: LANE, W.
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed for, and Published by, Robert Blachford & Co., Chart Sellers to the Admiralty and Honorable East India Company, Navigation Warehouse, 79, Leadenhall Street
  • Publication date: 1821
  • Physical description: Engraved broadsheet, with two engraved maps, fine original hand-colour, paste-over to right-hand portion of 'Plan of Lancaster Sound', letterpress text below.
  • Dimensions: 685 by 470mm (27 by 18.5 inches)
  • Inventory reference: 1103


A rare broadsheet comprising a letterpress title and two engraved maps; the North Pole map entitled ‘Map of the North Polar Regions’, the second entitled ‘Plan of Lancaster Sound, penetrated by Capt. Parry, in July 1819’. The maps were edited from Admiralty Records by W. Lane, a teacher of navigation employed by Robert Blachford. The maps are set above an extensive panel of text of ‘Interesting Particulars of the Voyage’, recounting Parry’s discoveries in the unsuccessful quest for a Northwest Passage, ending with his landfall in the Orkneys on 28th October 1820.

Although Parry failed to find the elusive Northwest Passage, he did establish that a westward route existed through Lancaster Sound. He also began to map the numerous islands through which the Northwest Passage would have to be navigated. Beyond this Parry demonstrated that, with sufficient provisions, a ship and crew could winter successfully above the Arctic Circle. The text itself gives some fascinating details of the voyage including: a bear being attracted to the ship by the smell of frying herring (the bear was subsequently shot); the numerous sightings of whales which was very good news for the whaling fleets, though perhaps not such good news for the whales; and the production of plays by the crew when they were trapped in the ice for ten long months. Although not recorded here, the crew also produced their own newspaper, the ‘North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle’, where, “The Sportsman and the Essayist, the Philosopher and the Wit, the Poet and the Plain Matter-of-fact Man, will each find their respective places”.

Robert Blachford was a hydrographer and chartseller in the years 1804-1835. He started off in the business with his father-in-law John Hamilton Moore and soon branched out on his own.

COPAC records only one other example of this map: that of the British Library.


  1. BLMC Maps 982.(37.)