The expedition, under the command of Captain Horatio Thomas Austin, with Captains Ommanney, Cator and Oshorn set out in May 1850 in search of Franklin's lost expedition, arriving in Lancaster Sound in August. Ommanney on the Assistance examined the north shore of the sound between Cape Warrender and Fellfoot Point, discovering the first traces of Franklin's expedition on 23 August, and soon after finding Franklin's winter quarters at Beechey Island. Ommanney was joined by the rest of the fleet on 28 August and they resumed their voyage to the west, only to be beset in the ice to the north-east of Griffith Island, a small island in Barrow Strait, in September. They established winter quarters there, began depot-laying, once daylight returned in the spring, for sledge journeys to search for traces of Franklin's party on both sides of the Barrow Strait. The ships were released from the ice in August 1851 and headed home, the Pioneer and Intrepid making a brief survey of the entrance of Jones Sound en route.
An attribution to Lieut. Browne, "principle artist" for the scenery of the ship-board theatre "whose Panorama of the Arctic Regions has given him a distinguished place amongst scenic painters" (and for whom see the preface to Arctic miscellanies, edited anonymously by Sherard Osborne, London, 1852, p.xvii) has been suggested by Ann Savours. Ackermann & Co. published a folio of lithographs after 'drawings by Browne of the Enterprise' in 1850, includes a similar 'nocturnal' scene showing the ships of an expedition wintering in the Arctic ('Noon in Mid-winter. Pt. Leopold'), and for which see the following two lots.