23 March 2016

north-west-passage. Millias

The North-West Passage by Millais: this was the unnavigable sea route round North America which was thought to provide a passage to the East. In time, it became synonymous with failure, adversity and death, with men and ships battling against hopeless odds in a frozen wilderness. Millais painted this picture in 1874 when another English expedition was setting off: he encapsulates the risks of such a voyage through the old seaman, with his grim, distant look and clenched fist.