For further examples of the expedition tableware see Christie's, 8 April 1998, lot 152 (oval drainer), 29 April 1999, lot 142 (sauce tureen), 25 Sept. 2001, lots 14-15 (dinner plate and soup bowl) and 25 Sept 2002, lot 285 (dinner plate).
Copeland produced individual services for both HMS Alert and HMS Discovery. The ships had their own headed embossed note-paper, and beer was supplied by Burton-on-Trent breweries, an indication of the effort that went into making life on board as civilised as possible, and of the importance that the Admiralty attached to the expedition.
The British Arctic Expedition (29 May 1875 - 2 November 1876) was sent out by the Admiralty to attempt to reach the North Pole by way of Smith Sound. The two ships Alert and Discovery reached Discovery Harbour, on the northern side of Lady Franklin Bay, Ellesmere Island, on 25 August. While this site was chosen as Discovery's winter quarters, Alert continued up Robeson Channel to Floeberg Beach, Ellesmere Island, to 82°28'N, the highest latitude reached by any ship up to that date. In early April 1876, three major sledging parties set out to explore the North Pole, and the north coasts of Ellesmere Island and Greenland. The Pole party, led by Commander A.H. Markham, achieved a record latitude of 83°20'26''N (on 12 May) but covered no more than 50km over the ice before turning back on account of worsening scurvy, which also badly affected the other sledge parties.
The expedition reached a higher latitude and wintered farther north than any ship had ever done before. The results of the expedition were the discovery of 300 miles of Greenland and Ellesmere Island coastline, the examination of part of the frozen polar ocean, a series of meteorological, magnetic and tidal observations at two points further north than any such observations had ever been taken before, and the gathering of large collections of geological and natural history specimens. Nares was awarded the RGS's Gold Medal in 1877 in recognition of the achievements of the expedition.