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Antarctic, Arctic, Polar

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  • Farthest North [The Voyage of the Fram] – Fridtjof Nansen – 1898

    Farthest North [The Voyage of the Fram] – Fridtjof Nansen – 1898

    Farthest North: Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship Fram 1893-96, and of a Fifteen Month’s Sleigh Journey by Dr Nasen and Lieut Johansen.

    Two volumes large octavo 480 pages and 456 pages after preliminaries before advertisements etc, large folding coloured map at rear of Volume I, coloured plate illustrated with a multitude of photographs and sketches by Nansen.

    Published by George Newnes, London in 1898. A second edition after the first in 1897 but our preferred as there was a switch to these stunning pictorial covers are a hallmark of this set. Internally some insignificant marks and some rubbing to the cover spine ends and tips, hinges a trifle loose. On the whole the covers still remarkably bright, overall a very good set.

    Nansen undertook this expedition to prove his theory that a drift current moved across the northern polar regions from the Bering Straits and New Siberia Islands towards the Greenland Coast. The theory had been supported by finding, near Greenland, parts of the ship Jeannette which was wrecked in 1881 in the Bearing Straits. Nansen’s ship, the Fram, was designed specially to cope with the risk of being crushed in an ice-pack. Built in Scotland the theory was that the Fram would be deliberately frozen into the ice and the design would lift the boat higher rather than crush it from the sides. They set off in June 1893 and successfully achieved this primary objective, the ship returning to Norway in 1896. Meanwhile, Nansen and Johansen had left the ship with husky drawn sleds in an attempt to reach the North Pole. They failed in this endeavour, as their dogs deteriorated, but still managed to reach the point “Farthest North” yet attained by man.

    Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a very talented individual. He held a doctorate in zoology, contributed to the field of neurology, worked a a museum curator and a was great athlete. Prior to this expedition he was the first to explore the interior of Greenland on skis

    Nansen’s Farthest North in our favourite Pictorial Bindings


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  • Whalers of the Midnight Sun  – Alan Villiers [A Fiction Based on His Experiences] – 1964

    Whalers of the Midnight Sun – Alan Villiers [A Fiction Based on His Experiences] – 1964

    Maritime hero Alan Villiers brings his undoubted experience to this adventure book aimed at young boys.

    A new edition and first of its type, Angus and Robertson 1964. Octavo, 248 pages with ten full pages illustration from woodcuts by Charles Pont. A little aging to page edges and gift inscription back of half title, nice bright jacket, all up a pretty good copy.

    Endpaper maps of the voyage from Hobart, Tasmania down to Macquarie Island; the Balleny Islands; the Ross Sea; Grahams Island before heading north to Montevideo.

    A Norwegian expedition picks up some extra crew at Hobart, a motely band of youths and a stow away, little Alfie, who appears at Macquarie Island. Adventure ensues.

    Alan Villiers, a yarn about Whaling, from personal experience.


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  • The Iceland Journals of Henry Holland 1810 – Edited Andrew Wawn

    The Iceland Journals of Henry Holland 1810 – Edited Andrew Wawn

    The British had visited Iceland for many years, but little was written about it before this expedition.

    Led by Sir George Mackenzie accompanied by a party of young Edinburgh scientists. Among them was Henry Hall, who later became a physician to Queen Victoria in London. Hall was 22 at the time of the expedition.

    The object of the exercise was to explore and investigate several volcanic regions to contribute to the important and controversial mineralogical debate that was then taking place in Europe. There are three fundamental journeys … to Gullbringusfsala; the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and Rangarvallasyla.

    On return Mackenzie published the first good account on Iceland for over forty years … “Travels in the Island of Iceland etc”. Henry Hall had kept a detailed diary which, never published was retained in family hands until gifted by them to a Reykjavik institution.

    The author of this work, Andrew Wawn, carried out the sort of research expected of a Hakluyt contributor concluded that Mackenzie’s published work relied heavily on Hall’s manuscript without acknowledgement. Furthermore, Hall’s more detailed and in the moment account contained much missed by his illustrious leader … so here we have it.

    Published by Hakluyt in 1987. Octavo, 342 pages after preliminaries. The extent of Wawn’s work in bringing this account to life is clear from the 70-page introduction. Then we have 200 pages of the text of the journals illustrated by numerous sketches made by Hall. Followed by several useful appendices. A very good copy.

    Hall’s missing journals on Iceland 1810.


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  • The Voyage of the “Scotia” – Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration in the Antarctic Seas By R.N. Rudmose Brown, J.H.H. Pirie and R.C. Mossman

    The Voyage of the “Scotia” – Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration in the Antarctic Seas By R.N. Rudmose Brown, J.H.H. Pirie and R.C. Mossman

    A facsimile of the rare first published by Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh in 1906. This edition by MacClelland and Stewart, Toronto 1978.

    The original small quarto this octavo, 375 pages with numerous illustrations and a chart of the track of the Scotia; a map of Laurie Island South Orkneys and a large folding chart at the rear … Bathymetrical Survey of the South Atlantic Ocean and the Weddell Sea. A fine copy. The piper on the front is naturalist Burn Murdoch … the first person to play the bagpipes on the Antarctic … and also in the Arctic … quiet an achievement.

    With an additional forward by Sir George Deacon which adds greatly to our understanding of the expedition leader William Spiers Bruce and his colleagues who were joint authors of this account

    William Spiers Bruce (1867-1921) was born in Edinburgh and was Scotland’s greatest polar scientist and oceanographer. His greatest accomplishment is recorded in this account, leading the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-1904) to the South Orkney Islands and the Weddell Sea, where they conducted the first oceanographic explorations and discovered the northern part of the Caird Coast. They established the first permanent weather station in the Antarctic. Bruce would not write the popular account of the expedition so it fell to his three lieutenants to write this much admired work.

    Bruce had previously been on the Dundee Whaling Expedition (1892) having given up medical studies to participate. In between he participated in Arctic Voyages to Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land. He wanted to joined Scott’s Discovery Expedition but it is said that he fell out with Markham and therefore organised his own Scottish expedition. He was a good friend of Mawson and provided gear towards Mawson’s later expedition.

    The Scottish expedition, and early one with significant achievements often overlooked.


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  • Polar Gleams – An account of a Voyage on the Yacht “Blencathra”  [An Arctic Voyage] – Helen Peel – First Edition 1894

    Polar Gleams – An account of a Voyage on the Yacht “Blencathra” [An Arctic Voyage] – Helen Peel – First Edition 1894

    The author Helen Peel was the granddaughter of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    With a Preface by The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava and contributions by Joseph Wiggins and Frederick G. Jackson.

    A first edition published in the same year in the UK and the USA. This is the American first by McClurg, Chicago, 1894.

    Large Octavo, 211 pages, cloth covered boards with bright silver gilt titling to front and spine, with walrus head design on spine. Burgundy end paper, portrait frontispiece with signature facsimile. 15 other illustrations and two maps – the Sea Route to Siberia and the Great Siberian Railway. Re-cased, original spine laid down, very clean inside a nice copy of a very rare item.

    The acknowledged adventurer the Marquess of Dufferin was the godfather of the adventurous Helen Peel. He admired her vigour and abilities in putting together this account of the Arctic voyage of the Blencathra that he provided his esteemed and thoughtful Preface.

    From Britain through the northern Norwegian waters, the Barents and Kara Seas, up the Yenisei River to Gol’chikha and back to Archangel in the farthest reaches of Siberia… much interaction with Laps and Samoyeds.

    The Blencathra (then named HMS Newport) was built in 1867 in the Pembroke Dockyard. Part of the Philomel class – a wooden screw gun vessel, with a single two-cylinder single expansion, single screw steam engine. She was the first ship to pass through the Suez Canal. She was bought by F.W. Laybourne-Popham in 1890 as a yacht. He had an interest in Arctic waters and appointed Joseph Wiggins as Captain for a voyage, the subject of this book. The whole exercise turned into a commercial one with the organisation of support vessels and the transport of rails for the Trans-Siberian Railway. Later the yacht was used by William Speirs Bruce and new owner Major Andrew Coats to cruise the Arctic as far as Novaya Zemyla and Kolguyev and then Spitzbergen. It was later purchased by the Russians who lost it near Franz Josef Land.

    Rare Arctic Voyage – Unusual Author and Pedigree – Hard Working and Fated Polar Vessel.



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  • Printed Charts of Scandinavia – Map Collectors’ Circle – R.V. Tooley

    Printed Charts of Scandinavia – Map Collectors’ Circle – R.V. Tooley

    The Map Collectors’ Circle publication published Nos 70 and 71 by R.V. Tooley in 1971. Very good condition with T.M. Perry, Australian map expert’s stamp to each.

    Excellent work by the master Tooley in No 70 we have Part I comprising catalogue details of 297 maps and charts of northern delights on 28 pages plus 16 pages of rare map illustrations. Completing the exercise in No 71 – Part II Tooley expands the catalogue to 759 items, over another 32 pages, and adds another 10 pages of illustrations of map examples.

    Rare Northern Cold Climate Maps catalogued by Tooley.


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