CDV of Oil Painting Port Foulke by Isaac Israel Hayes on Arctic Expedition, Inscribed by Hayes to William Parker Foulke

CDV albumen photograph of an oil painting titled Port Foulke. J.E. McClees: Philadelphia, [1863]. Contemporary inscription to verso signed by Israel Isaac Hayes: "Port Foulke / Lat 78°. 17'. North / To Wm. Parker Fouke Esq. / with the regards of / I.I. Hayes. / Apl. 15th, 1863 / Photographed from an / original Oil Painting / by I.I. Hayes."

Israel Isaac Hayes (1832-1881) first traveled to the Arctic on an expedition led by Elisha Kane departing New York in June 1853. Hayes successfully made a round trip exploration of the east coast of Ellesmere island north of the 79th parallel. Upon his return, he embarked on a lecture tour speaking at both the American Geographical Society and the Smithsonian Institution.

Despite food severe food shortages and losing three toes to frostbite during his first expedition, his enthusiasm did not dampen. He raised $30,000 and led his own expedition to the Arctic, departing June 1860 aboard the United States and hoping to eventually reach the North Pole. Port Foulke was the Greenland base-camp (at 78°17'.4, 72°38'.6) from which their expedition departed. They traveled for Baffin Bay, Smith Sound, and Ellesmere Island, en route to the Open Polar Sea, however, a multitude of hardships common to polar expeditions plagued their party, forcing them to return. Hayes took sextant readings before their voyage home, recording that they reached 81°25' North. This would have been the farthest north any expedition had ventured to date, if the readings are accurate, however, much doubt has been cast to their veracity. When he returned home, the Civil War had started and Hayes enlisted as a surgeon with the Union Army and was placed in command of Satterlee General Hospital in Philadelphia. It was during this time that Hayes sent this CDV of the oil painting of their ship, the United States, at their base-camp to the lawyer and abolitionist William Parker Foulke (1816-1865). Hayes had named their base-camp Port Foulke in honor of his benefactor who Hayes describes in his narrative of the expedition as "throughout one of the most constant advocates of the expedition." 

At the time of cataloging, no record of the painting's fate could be determined. It seems likely that it was in Hayes' possession during his time at Satterlee and he produced CDV images of the work at local photographer McClees to distribute to his financial backers. 


Very light stain to mount recto, else very fine. 

Estimate: $400 - $600
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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