Putting colour into the past

If you have followed our blog for a while, you will know that one of our favourite subjects is Sir John Franklin and his lost expedition to discover the northwest passage from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific via the Arctic.

On 16 May 1845, the officers of Franklin’s expedition had their photographs taken by Richard Beard, who had been commissioned by Franklin’s wife, Lady Jane. A mounted set of the daguerreotypes probably produced after 1875 can be found amongst the many other papers of Franklin and his extended family in the Gell of Hopton Hall archive (ref: D8760), Franklin’s daughter Eleanor having married the Reverend John Philip Gell in 1849.

Photographic prints of the officers of the 'Erebus' and 'Terror' prior to departure in 1845. Derbyshire Record Office reference D8760/F/LIB/8/1/5
Mounted set of photographic prints of John Franklin and the crews of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror taken in May 1845, reference: D8760/F/LIB/8/1/5

Recently we discovered colourised images produced by Ross Day of a different set of the prints, and Ross has kindly sent us the image file so that we may share it here:

Colourisation, by Ross Day, of the photographic prints of the officers of the 'Erebus' and 'Terror' prior to departure in 1845

Ross, who has a particular interest in the story of Franklin and his crew and has shared many other examples of his work via the Remembering the Franklin Expedition group on Facebook, tells us he has a passion for colourisation and is happy for others to reach out to him if they have any photos they want colourising to support his hobby. His email address is ross.g.day@icloud.com.

3 thoughts on “Putting colour into the past

  1. I’ve just come across this post as I’ve been doing some research into the Franklin daguerrotypes and was going to contact DRO about them – wonderful to see original and colourised versions beside each other!

  2. Wow! Thank you so much – you couldn’t have posted at a more fortuous time, as the final episodes to The Terror is next week. It’s a fictional account of the journey but has had me gripped, especially thinking of why they would all volunteer for such a mission and incredible feats of endurance by pioneers. It was lovely to see these actual men and marvel at their bravery (beautifully coloured version too). Fascinating.

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