The paper label attached to the ivory polar bear relates to the lost arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin, which departed England in 1845. Despite an extensive search by eleven British ships, the entire expedition of 129 men and two ships the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were lost. The remains of HMS Terror were finally discovered in September, 2016.
Lieutenant William Hulme Hooper (1827-1854) served on HMS Plover, which sailed in 1848 on a mission to find the remains of Sir John Franklin's expedition. He had particular admiration for the Chukchi people and it is likely the polar bear originates from that area; other barter objects are described in his autobiography Ten Months among the Tents of the Tuski, London, 1853. A large group of Chuckchi artefacts collected by Lieut. Hooper were given by his niece to the British Museum, including a large collection of ivory animal figures (see Museum Number As1943,06.7 and http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?people=38890=38890-3-31).
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