Relic identifications inside a rare sketch of Schwatka relics



I found this sketch of Schwatka relics in an article by William Gilder for Scribner's Monthly (Volume 22, 1881, presumably by artist W. Taber).  Having become a bit obsessed by Randall Osczevski's search for the lost Schwatka "L.F. initials board" taken from HMS Erebus, I made an attempt to work out what Franklin relics were inside that jumble.

The first day I posted six Greenwich relics as guesses to RtFE (see below).  By the following day it was clear two of the six were in error.  Using Greenwich's listed dimensions, I made a height measurement mockup (see further below) that showed Flask AAA2277 was too small to convincingly match the jug in the sketch.  Secondly, Peter Carney pointed out that the smaller stove parts I had identified were in fact McClintock Expedition relics.

However, within minutes of first posting this sketch, Russell Potter and then Peter Carney recognized the larger significance:  the large object I had visually linked to Greenwich's artifact AAA4275 was the topic of a recent Stenton & Park paper, The Cast Iron Site.  One of the central arguments of this work is that Greenwich's AAA4275 is almost certainly a Schwatka relic.  And here it was, drawn in convincing detail, on display in a sketch with other Schwatka relics.

Russell Potter brought the identification to the attention of Franklin archaeologist Doug Stenton, and Stenton in turn contacted curator Jeremy Michell at Greenwich's National Maritime Museum.  The sketch was added to Stenton's archaeological research and Michell's Schwatka relics research to make a tentative but now public identification on Greenwich's site of AAA4275 as a Franklin-Schwatka relic.

Greenwich's site reads:  "The sketch, while partially obscured by other Franklin relics recovered by Schwatka's expedition, shows some unique features found on the actual stove, appearing to confirm that it was recovered from the Schwatka expedition in 1881."  Curator Michell has also used this sketch to upgrade other Franklin catalogue records, and has continued to make further identifications of Franklin relics in the sketch beyond my initial post; that work is continuing.

All of this relic identification makes it clear that the L.F. Initials Board is not visible in this sketch.  That search will continue.



Sea boot:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/2295.html


Telescope:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collectio…/objects/375319.html


Flask – this was my initial identification, proved by size (below) to be unlikely:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/2276.html


Mast:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/2299.html


Cooking stove large:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collectio…/objects/256424.html


Cooking stove large:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collectio…/objects/256424.html


Cooking stove small parts – this was my initial identification, disproved by Peter Carney:
https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/2126.html

Scribner's Monthly article:
https://archive.org/details/cihm_15019/page/n17/mode/2up



Height comparison made the day after, showing relative sizes lining up with all artifacts except the Flask.

Randall Osczevski's L.F. Initials Board thread (link to private group):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/11434844549/permalink/10157257125949550/

Originally posted April 4 2020 (link to private group):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/11434844549/permalink/10157973097119550/

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Postscript:  There is one tentative identification I left out of my original post that I will add here:  that dark object in front may be Eyebolt Shackle AAA2373 (or the other Eyebolt Shackle, AAA2325).  The size is reasonably accurate, and the shape is close but without being quite a definite match.  The bigger issue – and the reason I didn't include it with the original six – is that there appears to be a handle coming out of the object in the sketch.  So this identification would seem to solve one problem while creating another.

– LZ, April 29th 2020