ARCTIC EXPEDITION 1875. Copeland Saucer, with expedition crest featuring a polar bear, marked Discovery, marked with Copeland anchor inscribed Arctic Expedition 1875 and their stamp on verso. 1875.
Diameter 172 mm; centre a little worn, otherwise very good, not dishwasher-safe.
This is a rare survival from the near-tragic expedition led by Captain George Nares on behalf of the British government in the ships HMS Alert and HMS Discovery. The expedition sailed on 29 May 1875 with the chief aim of reaching the North Pole. Previous American expeditions had led Nares to believe that the best route to the Pole was via Smith Sound but after much hardship this was found to be impracticable and the ships returned to Portsmouth in October 1876. Nares was the first explorer to take his ships all the way north through the channel between Greenland and Ellesmere Island (now named Nares Strait in his honour) to the Lincoln Sea.
This saucer was produced for HMS Discovery, captained by Henry Frederick Stephenson. Built in Dundee in 1873 as the whaler Bloodhound, the ship was purchased by the Admiralty and fitted out for the expedition. The design of the ship was influential on the construction of Scott's 1901-built research vessel RRS Discovery.