From an original painting by Michaela Gall exclusively for The Shop Floor Project.
Digital art reproduction of original painting on 310gsm, archival quality, acid-free, aquarelle rag.
Limited edition of 100, signed and numbered & stamped.
UNFRAMED SIZE: 42 x 29 cm
FRAMED SIZE: 50 x 40 cm (framed with mount)
Frame options: Black, white, ash, aged gilt.
Please note: Our framers are recognised by the Fine Art Trade Guild for their quality because the custom frames have tightly pinned corners, and are made from precision cut wood in England, made bespoke for each order. All our frames are glazed with our Clarity+ Perspex. It's cut from the highest quality acrylic sheet that's both crystal clear, but also safe and filters out 99% of UV light to protect the artwork.
One of the pioneering polar explorers from the Golden Age of Exploration grew up as a poor orphan in Baltimore, and his achievements later in life were largely ignored because of his race.
Matthew Henson was one of the era’s few African-American explorers, and he may have been the first man, black or white, to reach the North Pole. His grueling adventures alongside U.S. Navy engineer Robert E. Peary are chronicled in these dramatic early photos.
Henson was born in 1866, on August 8. At age 13, as an orphan, he became a cabin boy on a ship, where the vessel’s captain taught him to read and write. Henson was working as a store clerk in Washington, D.C. in 1887 when he met Peary. Peary hired him as a valet, and the two began a long working relationship that spanned half a dozen epic voyages over two decades.
In 1900 Henson and Peary went farther north than anyone else had before. Later they broke their own record. The pair explored Greenland and possibly made it to the North Pole in 1909, accompanied by four Inuit men. Although it’s been difficult to confirm, Henson believed he was the first person to make it to the pole.
"I can't get along without him," Peary said of Henson, who was an expert dog-sledder, hunter, craftsman, and navigator who even became fluent in Inuit. After his exploring days Henson worked as an official in the U.S. Customs House in New York City. He died in 1955. (Learn about epic South Pole explorations.)
For nearly a century, Henson’s contributions to polar explorations were downplayed in favor of Peary. But in 2000, Henson was posthumously awarded National Geographic’s highest honor for exploration, the Hubbard Medal.
In 1988, Henson and his wife were reinterred at the Arlington National Cemetery, alongside Peary. In 1996, an oceanographic survey ship was named the U.S.N.S Henson in his honor.
Text and images from National geographic
About the artist
Michaela Gall studied at Chelsea School of Art and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. She works on paper and in ceramic. Her work is produced under the umbrella of Majolica, a form of ceramics originated in Renaissance Italy which uses tin-glazes painted over an opaque white background glaze, with an earthenware body. Michaela creates pieces that are painted within the tradition of Folk Art, documenting various subjects such as historical events, patterns, symbols and people from different cultures. Her celebrated Painted Portrait series explores various cultural figures throughout history from Queen Elizabeth I to Jimi Hendrix.