The Sailing Ship "Saint Martyr Foka"


This photograph is from a collection consisting of an album and individual photographs from the family archive of geologist Mikhail Alekseevich Pavlov (1884–1938). The collection depicts an expedition undertaken by Senior Lieutenant Georgii Iakovlevich Sedov (1877–1914) in the years 1912–14. Sedov was a hydrographer and surveyor who devoted much of his career to exploration of the Northern Sea Route north of Siberia. The son of a poor fisherman, Sedov succeeded in becoming an officer of the Imperial Russian Navy, an unprecedented achievement for someone of his modest origins. The members of the expedition departed from Arkhangelsk in August of 1912 on the sailing vessel Saint Martyr Foka, intending to travel to Zemlya Frantsa Iosifa, from where they would attempt to reach the North Pole by dog sled. The expedition relied on private means, which contributed to the shortages of fuel and food that led to its failure. Sedov, whose health was already failing when he set out for the pole by sled in early 1914, died before reaching his objective. The members of the expedition nonetheless carried out extensive surveying and scientific observations while wintering on Novaya Zemlya in 1912–13 and made significant contributions to knowledge of northern geography. Many photographs in the collection were taken by Nikolaj Vasil’evich Pinegin (1883–1940), the artist and photographer of the expedition. Other photographs are attributed to Pavlov, the expedition’s geologist, who over the course of his career conducted a great deal of geological research in Siberia and the Russian Far East. The photographs show the expedition’s departure from Arkhangelsk, the members of the expedition on the Saint Martyr Foka, the harsh conditions endured by the expedition in winter, and views of the Arctic. The collection is preserved in the V.K. Arseniev Primorsky Regional Unified Museum in Vladivostok, Russia and was digitized for the Meeting of Frontiers digital library project in the early 2000s.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Парусник "Св.муч.Фока"

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph : black and white ; 9 x 14 centimeters


  1. N. Pinegin, Georgii Sedov (Leningrad: Sovetskiĭ pisatelʹ, 1941).
  2. William Barr, “Sedov’s Expedition to the North Pole 1912-1914,” Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes 15, number 4 (Winter 1973).

Last updated: September 7, 2017