The Art of the Sublime

The Hon. John Collier The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson exhibited 1881

The Hon. John Collier 'The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson' exhibited 1881
Full screen
The Hon. John Collier 1850–1934
The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson exhibited 1881
Oil paint on canvas
support: 2140 x 1835 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1881
Tate N01616
In 1611, while on an expedition to find the North-West Passage, explorer Henry Hudson and his son were cast adrift by his mutinous crew. Their fate was unknown but raised the taboo of cannibalism. Collier hints at this by posing Hudson, eerily staring out at the viewer, like Dante’s ‘Ugolino’ by Joshua Reynolds, 1773. Incarcerated with his sons, Ugolino eats them to survive, although the act is futile and all eventually die. Here the vast, Arctic landscape remains impassive to a terrifying human drama. Collier’s audience noted its relevance to ongoing Arctic explorations and the search for the North-West Passage.

How to cite

The Hon. John Collier, The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson exhibited 1881, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, January 2013,, accessed 21 April 2015.