This drawing offers an important insight into alternative compositions considered by Millais for his sombre painting, the North West Passage (Tate, London). In the drawing the old mariner points to a globe ‘where the ship broke up’ which refers to Sir John Franklin’s fateful voyage to find a sea route to the East via the Arctic in 1845. The globe does not appear in the finished painting. The lower sketch suggests that Millais considered placing two figures beside the mariner while the finished painting depicts only figure, a young girl.
We are grateful to Malcolm Warner, Executive Director of the Laguna Art Museum, for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.