Franklin was a naval officer and Arctic explorer who went on several historic voyages. His first Arctic exploration was in 1818 but the journey was thwarted due to pack ice and his party was forced to return after six months. In 1819 Franklin led an expedition to chart the north coast of Canada. During the three-year exploration eleven of the twenty-two crew-members lost their lives. D’Angers modeled the bronze medallion that this plaster is cast from in 1829, when Franklin was knighted by George IV. After a spell as Lieutenant-Governor of modern day Tasmania, Franklin returned to Britain and, in 1845, set off on his fatal voyage. The aim was to explore the North West Passage but it is believed the boats got trapped in ice off Beechey Island resulting in the entire crew perishing.