“The Journey of a Painting”

The story behind the painting ‘Expedition’ of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror by Christopher Walker 

Canadian artist, Christopher Walker, revealed his historic painting of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror exclusively to the team of One Ocean Expeditions on April 5th, 2018.

The RCGS Fellow created a painting of Sir John Franklin’s lost vessels, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, taking into consideration all of the historic details in the most explicit way. 

Following the Victoria Strait Expedition in 2014, Christopher Walker felt an urgent need to contribute to this inspiring historical event in Canadian history – and did so with this painting. 

With his personal experience in polar exploration during 1994, the inspiring artist knew how to capture the unforgiving Arctic sea. 

Christopher’s attention to detail and historical accuracy in ‘Expedition’ is truly fascinating. As his work on this painting progressed, Christopher ensured each detail was exact to that time period and specific expedition, from the lines on the sails to the gentlemen’s uniforms. Supported by authentic plans from the National Maritime Museum and with regular reviews from the Vancouver Maritime Museum and other partners, Christopher has created a stunning work of art.

The journey of the painting:

  • “The side scan sonar images and underwater videos of the shipwrecks from Parks Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation were helpful to understand the scale and proportions of HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror”.
HMS Terror
HMS Terror

  • A full size working drawing was then developed with the assistance of Matthew Betts, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Franklin ship expert, who provided me with technical assistance and accurate historical references.”


  • “The completed “Expedition” painting had many revisions and adjustments. I chose to depict the Franklin Expedition when they first arrived at Beechey Island before they were beset in ice. Most notable paintings of the Franklin expedition depicted adversity, peril and struggle. “Expedition” conveys a spirit of determination, gallantry and hope.”

The painting is currently displayed at One Ocean Expeditions shore office in Squamish, BC. 

For more information about the Victoria Strait Expedition 2014 CLICK HERE.