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July 6, 2012
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Frozen in Time by KristinaGehrmann Frozen in Time by KristinaGehrmann
Those three guys have become known as the best preserved ice mummies of the 19th century. Petty Officer John Torrington, Private William Braine and Able Seaman John Hartnell were the first casualties of the doomed Franklin Expedition. They all died in a rather short time span of pneumonia, tuberculosis and lead poisoning and were buried next to each other on Beechey Island in the Canadian Arctic. Their gravestones are still there today.

But they did not become famous until they were exhumed by Professor Owen Beattie and his team in 1984.
I've read the account in Beattie's book "Frozen in time" and just had to paint them. How could they have looked when they were alive? All I have as a guide are photographs of the preserved bodies, and until someone exhumes them again there will be only that very limited number of old photos.

So you can't really call my work an "archeological reconstruction", but merely an "artistic interpretation".

Want see their mummies? Warning! They're not kawaii desu possibly not worksafe: [link]
The notes are my own.

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconisadorrah:
Isadorrah Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014

Wonderful portrayal :clap:


I always wondered why Torrington's nose and forehead were blackened.  Now I know, thank you.

Reply
:iconcolettecopeland:
ColetteCopeland Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Excellent likeness! I've been considering writing a novel with this group...haven't started it yet, though :)
Reply
:iconicestorm94:
IceStorm94 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012
I love the idea behind this.
Watched the photo and I really think you did a good job, also with checking the minor details like the eye color or their beards.
Reply
:iconwesternlady27:
Westernlady27 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012
You're quite welcome! Me too, but I watched it on Nova's "Buried in Ice," and believe me, it made me want to cry! This is the way(you're pictures ,) the way they should be remembered.
Reply
:iconwesternlady27:
Westernlady27 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012
All were very handsome men! You did a wonderful job! I've read the book"Frozen in Time," you have the facial reconstruction perfect or very near it! Personally I hope more people get to see your work. Did Beattie ever see these pictures or their decendents? I think they would be quite pleased! Do you have the pricelist on these?
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! :D Yes, I should actually show them to Professor Beattie.

Price list? You mean for prints? I can't make good quality prints of these, since I lost the original 300 dpi file.
Reply
:icontribalgraces:
TribalGraces Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm not sure I want to look at the mummies, but these pictures are wonderful. It's very moving that you would take the time to give them back their faces after they've been gone for over a century. Beautiful work.
Reply
:iconun-chat-noir:
Un-Chat-Noir Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I´m too scared to look at the photos of the mummies but I love this and the idea behind it. Great work!
Reply
:iconrd-dd1843:
RD-DD1843 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
I have seen photos of the mummies. Belated autopsies suggested they died of a combination of scurvy and possible lead poisoning from the improper canned food that was purchased for the expeditions. They were lucky to die early - later members were forced into cannibalism trying to keep alive.

Their corpses are not the only ones to be fairly well preserved up in the Arctic circle. In 1969 the corpse of American Explorere Charles Francis Hall was exhumed in Greenland, and found to have arsenic in him. Either from patent medicines he used, or by suicide, or by murder - possibly by the German doctor on Hall's Polaris Expedition. Read (if you haven't) Chauncey Loomis's WEIRD AND TRAGIC SHORES.
Reply
:iconnovester-finch:
Novester-Finch Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fascinating! Thanks for sharing this. I'll have to add this book to my wish list and check it out!
Reply
:iconsakraida82:
Sakraida82 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012
OH yeah. That's right. Their frozen bodies are rather creepy in how well preserved they are. It's a good artistic interpertation.
Reply
:iconseyreene:
Seyreene Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Mumien sind immer ein interessantes Thema... Ich finde es spannend, dass du versucht hast, die Männer quasi wieder zum Leben zu erwecken durch deine Interpretationen.
Reply
:iconaurianfae:
aurianfae Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012
I love me some ice mummies! But then, as an archaeologist I'm totally fascinated with mummies of any sort.
Reply
:iconfromva:
Fromva Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012
This is beautiful!
Reply
:iconmisskingdomvii:
MissKingdomVII Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
I love stuff like this. Thank you for drawing this and for the info as well.
Reply
:iconalexorio:
AlexORio Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
That is super awesome! It's really cool you were interested enough in it to paint portraits of them!
Reply
:iconlunarsparks:
lunarsparks Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Very poignant piece (even more so when you see their mummies) and certainly a test of your artist skills to bring out their facial features. Looking at mummies always makes me sad and reflective because it makes you think of the life that has gone. Great work on the piece and a subject that, I myself, have not seen tackled very often.
Reply
:iconfuhrmannskoffer:
fuhrmannskoffer Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012
sweet idea! I really like how you created their faces (sounds dumb, I know, but I like how you integrated a bit of the mood they probably were in into their facial expressions)- I can very well imagine what kind of people they were ^^
Reply
:iconkrazypenguin:
KrazyPenguin Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012
I love how you recreated their portraits! I love the softness, almost like an old painted portrait.

The mummies were so creepy/awesome!! I can't believe their eyes were still there and in such in excellent condition, along with the rest of their bodies!! I got a shiver up my spine when I saw the pictures!
Reply
:iconbartsartny:
Bartsartny Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Doesn't look like it was an easy death
Reply
:iconsherwin-prague:
sherwin-prague Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very interesting idea and well done work! Fascinating!
Reply
:iconrosered77:
RoseRed77 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012
I really like their back story, and your artistic interpretation is great; really does this trio justice IMHO
Reply
:iconanianan:
anianan Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
Wonderful work!
Reply
:iconpinklady92:
pinklady92 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Genius :)
Reply
:iconspiritriver:
SpiritRiver Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
Amazing how well you brought them to life; the facial features are very well done here!
Also interesting how straight men's teeth were in the 1800s without orthodontia.
Reply
:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great work and the history of the characters are wonderful.

Cheers, Mike
Reply
:iconinspectork1412:
inspectork1412 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
These are absolutely stunning!
Reply
:iconquickreaver:
quickreaver Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
SO COOL! And you're getting so damned good, Kristina. :cuddle: I can't tell your digital from your oils and that's KILLER!
Reply
:iconmariamurphyart:
MariaMurphyArt Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
:omg: very interesting indeed, bless the poor fellows! Gosh you did a magnificent job compared to the graphic images.
You are very talented!!!!!!
Reply
:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
Just as fortunate for them they perished early. Sir John was brave, but an utter incompetent ass. I saw some of those pictures, they were heart-rending. Your pictures are skillful kindness to the dead.
Reply
:iconiarteatthoubrain:
iarteatthoubrain Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is very interesting and a job well done by you. You created an amazing interpretation of how the lads were when they were alive. Great job!
Reply
:iconthegreatmisto:
thegreatmisto Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
great work, it seems a very thoughtful project
Reply
:iconsailornoelle:
sailornoelle Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think this is really fascinating. I'm kind of squeamish when it comes to mummies, but I was able to look at them and compare. Really great!
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:iconcloudy-skye:
Cloudy-Skye Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is fantastic and compared to the photo's of the mummies I think they look pretty believable, too :)
Reply
:iconsapphires-of-ice:
sapphires-of-ice Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
These are so cool.
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconragamuffin009:
ragamuffin009 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012   Traditional Artist
This is awesome! Everything about it is just great. I looked at the mummies, and I think you were really accurate.

And is is just me, or does John Torrington look like Max Riemelt? [link]
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :D
haha, this guy really looks like him! :XD:
Reply
:iconragamuffin009:
ragamuffin009 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012   Traditional Artist
Handsome as hell! XD;
Reply
:iconcatherinenodet:
CatherineNodet Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
Interesting and very good interpretation!
Thank you! :aww:
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconcatherinenodet:
CatherineNodet Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
you always really deserve it!:hug:
Reply
:iconkeight:
keight Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
Lovely work, Kristina. Whatever you wish to call it; it is still well done forensic studies.
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconwinterthorn:
Winterthorn Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
i took a college course on this subject of the Franklin Expedition and the Inuit and such. The pictures of the mummies were fascinating and i love how you painted them as they would have looked in real life! excellent! :clap: :dance:
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:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconsirquo:
Sirquo Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is incredibly fascinating! I love looking at the pictures in comparison to your interpretations. They look amazing! I love this!!
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:iconstealthnerd:
StealthNerd Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy crap! When I was a kid, I used to have a book about these fellows and their mummies - as disturbing as it may be for a child to own such a thing, I was always more fascinated than traumatized.

It was John Torrington's face that really stuck with me from that book, and it's so amazing now to see him and the others come to life in your rendition. You gave them so much personality and character. I think my favorite is William; he's got such a clever, knowing look to him.

You're very talented, and it's great to see such talent put to something like this. What a great way to honor those brave men. :)
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :) I saw John Torrington in a book about mummies when I was a kid, just like you, and his creepy mummy-face has stayed stuck in my head ever since.

I wish I could have been there when they exhumed them in 1984. Just because.
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