Digital Grand Panorama of a whaling voyage

Today, I would like to introduce a very illustrative and creative digital reconstruction of a whaling voyage.1

The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World, which is in the New Bedford Whaling Museum, is the longest painting in North America and a rare example of a business that used the panorama. In this period, panoramas were an immensely popular form of entertainment, providing audiences with a way to experience far-off lands or journey back in time. They usually consisted of big paintings of exotic places, famous battle scenes, and cityscapes that surrounded an audience and made them feel like they were part of the scene.

The popular panorama craze was driven by the public’s growing appetite for the exotic and spectacular, fuelled by literature, painting, architecture, and fashion. Moving panoramas, which were mounted on several spools and scrolled through the panorama, offered a journey through space and time, and could embody the linear narrative of an expedition or voyage. The Purrington-Russell panorama was based on the artist’s first-hand knowledge. The rolls allow the audience to be somehow part of a Yankee whale ship searching for whales and offer a glimpse of the world beyond through the eyes of a whaleman.

The different tabs show the various islands, oceans and stations, which the whaling ship crossed during the voyage, among them the Azores, Cape Verdes, Rio de Janiero, Marquesas Islands, Society Islands, Hawaii, or the Fiji Islands. The pictures are impressively painted and invite the reader to take a closer look.

  1. Digital Grand Panorama, in: Arcgis.com, https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=19513a5d13964a48aa9d00973c8a9674#, [Last Access: 24.04.2023] []
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