Ross, the son of a lowland minister, joined the Navy at the age of nine and rose to the rank of Rear-Admiral. In 1818 he commanded the first of a series of government-backed expeditions to discover a northern sea-route from the Atlantic to the Pacific - the Northwest passage. On his second Arctic expedition in 1829 Ross's ship, the Victory, was trapped in ice for years and had eventually to be abandoned. In 1834 Ross was knighted for his services to Polar exploration. Only the thick fur wrap in this portrait hints at the bitter conditions of Ross's travels.