Explorers' Sketchbooks

Explorers' Sketchbooks

The Art of Discovery & Adventure

  1. Huw Lewis-Jones
  2. Kari Herbert
  • ISBN 9780500252192
  • 19.50 x 27.00 cm
  • Quarterbound/PLC (no jacket)
  • 320pp
  • With over 400 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2016

A celebration of exploration told through the finest visual journals of some 70 explorers from the 16th century to the present day. Often battered and neglected and perhaps long forgotten, many of these sketchbooks have themselves awaited rediscovery …

Explorers' Sketchbooks
Explorers' Sketchbooks

‘… a wunderkammer of wunderkammers – beautifully collected and curated, and magnificently produced’ – Robert Macfarlane
‘Imagine leaning over the shoulder of Captain James Cook as he charts the Pacific, or that of Meriwether Lewis as he and William Clark establish the true extent of the new nation of the United States. That’s the sensation you get as you leaf through this book’ – Michael Kerr’s books of the year, Daily Telegraph
‘The battered sketchbooks and field diaries of explorers and naturalists – inscribed with pencil or paintbrush on the spot – possess a mystique all their own … the closest we will ever come to sharing Shackleton’s Antarctic ordeal or the journeys of Livingstone’ – Colin Thubron
‘A truly dazzling array of journal entries by people whose travels changed the world’– The Scotsman
‘The excitement of adventure and discovery leaps from the pages … electrifying’– The Field
‘Astonishing’– The Spectator – Books of the Year

Despite dramatic advances in technology and equipment over the centuries, there is one vital piece of kit in most explorers’ pockets that hasn’t changed much at all – the journal. The sketchbooks and journals presented here allow us the opportunity to share, through their own eyes and thoughts, the on-the-spot reactions of around 70 intrepid individuals as they journeyed into frozen wastes, high mountains, barren deserts and rich rainforests.

Some are well known, such as Captain Scott, Charles Darwin, Thor Heyerdahl and Abel Tasman; others are unfamiliar, including Adela Breton, who braved the jungles of Mexico to make an unparalleled record of Maya monuments, and Alexandrine Tinne, who died in her attempt to be the first woman to cross the Sahara.

Here are pioneering explorers and map-makers, botanists and artists, ecologists and anthropologists, eccentrics and visionaries, men and women.

A handful of living explorers, including Wade Davis, provide their thoughts on the art of exploration.

Huw Lewis-Jones travels in the Arctic and Antarctica each year as a polar guide. He was formerly Curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and the National Maritime Museum, London. His books include The Conquest of Everest, which won the History Award at the Banff Mountain Festival, The Crossing of Antarctica and Across the Arctic Ocean. Kari Herbert’s first book, The Explorer’s Daughter, was Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4; her latest books include In Search of the South Pole and Heart of the Hero.