“Abandonment of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September, 1871.” Three hand-colored lithographs from 1872 done in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Benjamin Russell. Looks awfully cold. Part of a current Swann Galleries auction catalogue.

“Abandonment of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September, 1871: Blossom Shoals.” 1872. American. Hand-colored lithograph. John Henry Bufford, lithographer after Benjamin Russell. Image © Swann Auction Galleries. Fair use license. via https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/-WHALING–JH-Buffords-lithographers-Group-of-3-prints-depict?saleno=2580&lotNo=281&refNo=783413
“Abandonment of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September, 1871″. The names of the various whaling vessels are listed including the ‘Victoria” over at the far right. 1872. American. Hand-colored lithograph. John Henry Bufford, lithographer after Benjamin Russell. Image © Swann Auction Galleries. Fair use license. via https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/-WHALING–JH-Buffords-lithographers-Group-of-3-prints-depict?saleno=2580&lotNo=281&refNo=783413
“Abandonment of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September, 1871: The ‘Europa,’ the ‘Daniel Webster,’ the ‘Midas,’ the ‘Chance,’ the ‘Arctic’ , the ‘Progress’, and the ‘Lagoda’: Ships receiving the Captains, Officers, and Crews of Abandoned Ships” 1872. American. Hand-colored lithograph. John Henry Bufford, lithographer after Benjamin Russell. Image © Swann Auction Galleries. Fair use license. via https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/-WHALING–JH-Buffords-lithographers-Group-of-3-prints-depict?saleno=2580&lotNo=281&refNo=783413

These hand-colored lithographs appear to have been part of a larger set. Lithographs in sets or otherwise were very popular in 19th century America and the drawings for these images was probably done with the intention of selling them as prints. They refer to incident known as the Whaling disaster of 1871 off the northern Alaskan coast in which a fleet of 33 American whaling ships stayed were trapped in the Arctic ice in late 1871 and subsequently abandoned. Amazingly, no one died.

Please note that in my area where people went whaling from in the 19th century we regard these as history. I know depictions of whaling are not seen like that everywhere. However these images depict no actual whales, that and the ocean won.