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 waters, 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.
Often battered and neglected, stored away and perhaps long forgotten, many of these sketchbooks have themselves awaited rediscovery. Now is the chance to open them again…