ARCTIC MEDAL, 1857
Franklin Search Expeditions Arctic Medal, 1857 ARCTIC MEDAL, 1857. Octagonal medal, the obverse with a head of Queen Victoria and the text 'VICTORIA REGINA', the reverse with an ice-bound ship, a sledge party in the foreground and the text 'FOR ARCTIC DISCOVERIES 1818-1855', surmounted by a star and loop attachment, 65 x 33mm, white silk ribbon, unnamed as issued (the ribbon somewhat worn and soiled). Provenance: with the journal of William Thomas Gibson (1823-1904), carpenter's mate on HMS Investigator, 1848 (see previous lot): note however that Gibson is listed as 'No medal issued' in N.W. Poulsom and J.A.L. Myres, British Polar Exploration and Research 1818-1999: A Historical and Medallic Record with Biographies (2000). The Arctic Medal, probably as awarded to a member of the earliest Franklin search expedition. The Arctic Medal, with its evocative design by Leonard Charles Wyon, was authorized in 1857, 'Her Majesty having been graciously pleased to signify her commands that a Medal be granted to all persons, of every rank and class, who have been engaged in the several Expeditions to the Arctic Regions, whether of discovery or search, between the years 1818 and 1855, both inclusive' (London Gazette, 5 May 1857). W.T. Gibson took part in Sir James Clark Ross's voyage in 1848-49 to search for the expedition of Sir John Franklin, which had vanished without trace in 1845, although the ships made it no further than Somerset Island because of sea ice.