This illustration of pirates encountering a polar bear in the arctic regions is taken from page 54 of ‘The Frozen Crew of the Ice-bound Ship; or, The Terrors of the arctic regions. A romance of the wild and wonderful. With illustrations‘.
I found the image on Flickr among the British Library’s collection of images that are housed there. According to the library’s notes the illustration was published in 1898 by the Penny Miscellany Office.
Whilst I’d be delighted to see a polar bear out in the wild whilst on my expedition later this year, I’d certainly hope that it isn’t such a close encounter as these pirates are enduring!
There are some more fantatsic old illustrations from ‘The Frozen Crew of the Ice Bound Ship’ available on Flickr here, including the image above featuring sailors attacking what appear to be walruses in the arctic seas.