Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

jueves, 19 de octubre de 2017


I never thought I could find so many new pictures, not only pictures but Daguerrotypes!, in such short time. This time I am proud to announce I have found a beautifully coloured daguerrotype of Dr. John Rae dressed in his arctic outfit, apparently took in 1849, after returning from his overland voyage with Dr. Richardson. At least I had never seen this before now.

John Rae in arctic fur -
Silver Shadows - Fine Early photographs
There is a naughty smile in his face which suggest he was having fun or a good time while dressed like that in the photographic study. Interestengly one of the several streets, surely the locations of the different studies belonging "Beard´s photographic Institutions", is King William Street. It would be a curious and paradoxical coincidence that Rae had been pictured in that precise place. 

This picture had to be taken soon before Beard when bankrupt in 1850, a pity, because if he had overcome his finantial issues, maybe we could have now many more faces, in colour, of those heroic explorers who we could look at their eyes. 

EDIT: After the convincing comments of some heavyweights of the matter who projected founded doubts about the portrait belongs to John Rae, I have cooked a new theory. Maybe this man is James Clark Ross after all. I have made a quick "Photoshop" to compare the man in the daguerrotype with Ross´s face. Judge yourself:

For me the nose is very similar, if not in the James Clark ROss painting I used , it is in other paintings of him. Only his eyes look different, but as I said in the comments below, maybe J.C. Ross was somehow exhausted after the long winter of 1848-49 and that provoked that languish look. 

5 comentarios:

  1. Andres, I do not believe that this is Rae. The face is wrong, the hat is wrong, the furs are all wrong as well. The site doesn't give any evidence for its identification -- and indeed, I corresponded for some time with a previous owner of this Dag, and we concluded that it was unlikely to be Rae. However, if the site, or if you, have any additional information about this Dag, I'm open to a fresh consideration!

  2. Alas, great photo . . . but not John Rae. The dates do not match. When Richardson returned to England in 1849, Rae stayed in the Arctic. See Dead Reckoning, pp. 211 to 228.

  3. Thanks for your comments, my new guess is that he could be James Clark Ross after all. The nose has that particular curvature Ross´s nose has. ANd the date fits with his return from his expedition of 1848-49. The initials mentioned in the website where I found it also match somehow J.R. with Ross initials though there would be a missing "C.". Only the eyes are a bit different, but Ross hadn´t precisely a good time during the winter of 1848-49. I am updating and editing the post with a botched attempt of comparing both.

  4. Was the color part of the original 1849 photo, or was it colorized at a later date?

  5. Hi Soloman, I think they were tinted at the time they were taken, I have seen that in other Beard´s daguerrotypes. Apparently, Richard Beard patented a colouring technique in 1842. It was made at hand. I am thinking now that maybe the initials J.R. could have belonged the artist behind the coulours of that picture, they were usually miniaturist painters. I have learnt that in the "Encyclopedia of nineteenth century Photography"