Search the Collection

Sir George Back (1796-1878), Naval officer and explorer

Sitter in 6 portraits
Back was a naval officer who helped to trace the Arctic coastline of North America. He twice accompanied the British explorer John Franklin to Canada's Northwest Territories (1819-22 and 1825-7) and later conducted two expeditions of his own to the same region. The first of these expeditions, in 1833, was to search for another British explorer, John Ross, who had disappeared on an Arctic voyage in 1829. The venture resulted in the exploration of the Great Fish River (now the Back River). In 1836 Back returned to explore the coastal region east from the mouth of the river. His writings include Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of the Great Fish River (1836).

List Thumbnail


Sir George Back

by William Brockedon
black and red chalk, 1833
NPG 2515(46)


Sir George Back

by Camille Silvy
albumen print, 16 April 1861
NPG Ax52484


Sir George Back

by Ernest Edwards, published by Alfred William Bennett
albumen print, published 1865
NPG Ax14765


Sir George Back

by Edward Francis Finden, published by John Samuel Murray, after Richard Woodman
stipple engraving, published 1828
NPG D33854


The Arctic Council planning a search for Sir John Franklin

by James Scott, after Stephen Pearce
mezzotint, published 1853
NPG D9472