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Submitted on
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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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.

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 :)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Un-Chat-Noir Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Im too scared to look at the photos of the mummies but I love this and the idea behind it. Great work!
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.
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!
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