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Sir John Ross

5 of 17 portraits by James Green

Sir John Ross, by James Green, 1833 -NPG 314 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir John Ross

by James Green
52 in. x 43 3/4 in. (1321 mm x 1111 mm)
NPG 314

This portraitback to top

According to the vendor (letter of 13 July 1870, NPG archives), this portrait was painted immediately on Ross' return from his last expedition; this must refer to Ross' expedition of 1829-33 in search of the North-West Passage, and not to his later expedition in search of Franklin, 1850-1. Ross returned to England from the Arctic in October 1833. He is shown in the full dress naval uniform of a commander of the period, 1833-43; the cuff is not quite correct, but follows a fairly common variant form. The cap is apparently unofficial. Ross is wearing the class badge of the Swedish order of the Sword, awarded him for his service in the Baltic. [1]

Footnotesback to top

1) Information on uniform and the order kindly communicated by P. G. W. Annis of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Physical descriptionback to top

Healthy complexion, blue eyes, sandy hair. Dressed in a black stock, white shirt, and dark blue naval uniform, with red and gold-braided collar, epaulettes and cuffs, a white and gold order suspended from a blue and yellow silk ribbon, a blue and gilt sword belt, in which is tucked a fur cap (?), and a large fur skin draped over one shoulder and around the back of his body. He is holding in one hand a brown glove, and a blue cap with a red lining and a gilt band and tassel, and in the other a brown wooden spear tipped with steel. He is leaning on the brown wooden prow of a rowing boat, secured by a rope. He is shown against a white Arctic landscape.

Provenanceback to top

The artist; purchased from his son, B. R. Green, 1870.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA, 1834 (330).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for Sir John Ross