In the mid-nineteenth century, thirty-six expeditions set out for the Northwest Passage in search of Sir John Franklin’s missing expedition. The array of visual and textual material produced on these voyages was to have a profound impact on the idea of the Arctic in the Victorian imaginary. Eavan O’Dochartaigh closely examines neglected archival sources to show how pictures created in the Arctic fed into a metropolitan view transmitted through engravings, lithographs, and panoramas. Although the metropolitan Arctic revolved around a fulcrum of heroism, terror and the sublime, the visual culture of the ship reveals a more complicated narrative that included cross-dressing, theatricals, dressmaking, and dances with local communities. O’Dochartaigh’s investigation into the nature of the on-board visual culture of the nineteenth-century Arctic presents a compelling challenge to the ‚man-versus-nature‘ trope that still reverberates in polar imaginaries today.