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  • Charcot of the Antarctic – Marthe Oulie – First English Edition 1938

    Charcot of the Antarctic – Marthe Oulie – First English Edition 1938

    A first English edition of this unique biography of the great French Polar explorer, Jean Charcot.

    Published by John Murray, London in 1938. Octavo, turquoise cloth covered boards (missing dust jacket as nearly always), preface of xxvi, 236 pages 29 illustrations from period photographs, including frontispiece portrait: three maps. A little spotting to page edges and ends otherwise fine. A nice copy.

    A special preface by Admiral Sir William Goodenough past President of the Royal Geographical Society.

    Jean Charcot, son of the famous French neurologist came to Polar exploration late at the age of 35 when in the Francais he led a party to rescue Otto Nordenskjold, whose ship had been lost in the Weddell Sea. By the time they arrived Nordenskjold had already been rescued which allowed the French to do some healthy exploration. It was the second venture to the South Pole in the Pourquoi Pas that made his name … some regarding him as the father of Polar exploration. His explorations were extensive and for them he received the Patron’s Medal at the RGS an in France appointed Director Laboratoire des Recherches Maritimes. In 1936 he went North to explore parts of Greenland in his favoured vessel. On his return after stopping at Reykjavik he was met with an almighty storm and he was driven ashore and shipwrecked … only one crew member survived.

    Jean Charcot the great but often understated French Polar Explorer.



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  • The Voyage of the “Pourquoi- Pas” The Journal of the Second French South Polar Expedition, 1908-1910. Jean Charcot (Australian Edition 1978)

    The Voyage of the “Pourquoi- Pas” The Journal of the Second French South Polar Expedition, 1908-1910. Jean Charcot (Australian Edition 1978)

    This is a reprint of the first English edition originally published by Hodder and Stoughton, in 1911, titled The Voyage of the “Why-Not”. This edition, scarce in itself, published by the Australian National University Press in 1978.

    Octavo, 315 pages, double page frontispiece of the Winter Quarters at Petermann Island, 52 illustrations charts etc mainly from expedition photographs. Very good if not better condition.

    What adds to this edition is the delightful Preface by the then doyen of French Polar explorers, Paul-Emile Victor, who knew Charcot and worked with him in his later years

    The exploration of the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Sea by Dr Jean-Baptiste August Étienne Charcot (1867-1936), in the “Pourquoi-pas?” Charcot led the first French Antarctic expedition (1904-07), which reached Adelaide Island – there is no equivalent translation.

    In this Charcot’s Second expedition he surveyed over 2,000 kms of little known Antarctic coastline returning 28 volumes of scientific reports and over 3000 photographs. They visited the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island and wintered at Petermann. They went on to cover the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula towards Adelaide and Alexander Islands, discovering Marguerite Nay, Fallieres Coast and Charcot Land (after his father).

    Richard Howgego notes that “in the eyes of many contemporary historians, Charcot’s contribution to Antarctic science outweighs all others.”

    Never returning to the Antarctic, Charcot continued exploring after the Second World War, until wrecked off the coast of Iceland in1936 resulting in his death and forty-two crew members.

    A fascinating account, nicely illustrated with dramatic photographs from the expedition.

    Charcot in the Antarctic for a second time … and “Why-Not?”



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  • Siluria – The History of the Oldest Fossiliferous Rocks and Their Foundations; with a Brief Sketch of the Distribution of Gold Over the Earth – Roderick Impey Murchison – 1859

    Siluria – The History of the Oldest Fossiliferous Rocks and Their Foundations; with a Brief Sketch of the Distribution of Gold Over the Earth – Roderick Impey Murchison – 1859

    A third edition with maps and additional illustrations and content (particularly relating to gold in Australia) from earlier editions. Published by John Murray, London.

    Thick Royal Octavo, bound in period half calf, rubbing spine tips and corners, top edge gilt. 592 pages after preliminaries. Coloured frontispiece of Loch Assynt. 41 lithographed plates of the principal Silurian fossils, with descriptive letterpress. Tabular diagram, sketch map and numerous woodcuts. Separate folding Geological Map of the Silurian Rocks in pocket at end. A particularly nice copy.

    Carries the bookplate of William Heward Bell from the library of his stately pile, Cleeve House, Seen, Wiltshire. Cleeve built by Bell in true Jacobian style with its massive hall for displaying his hunting trophies and artefacts is a striking residence, although could do with a bit of a make-over nowadays.

    Bell also signed the end papers with the qualification “Mining Engineer”’ 1870. Likely the second owner of this princely tome. It is suggested he came from a family of Cheviot shepherds of Northumberland. He was a bright lad and no doubt cut his mustard in the Northumbrian coal fields. By an early age he had patents registered for improvements in mining processes. By the time he acquired this book he controlled the entire Merthyr Tydfil coal mining operations in South Wales and seemingly everywhere that the miners could spend their hard earned was his … he also controlled coal mines in England. and was very wealthy as a result. His son Clive Bell became a renowned art critic and was part of the Bloomsbury Group … his wife Vanessa Bell was also a member … they formed an unusual threesome with Duncan Grant, who by agreement fathered a child by Vanessa. They mixed with other Bloomsbury-ites … Leonard and Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, David Garnett, Maynard Keynes etc and D.H. Lawrence … some of whose writing is said to be based on William Heward Bell and his family and their generational move from Victorian industrialists to the Arts.

    The coloured folding map (53cm by 43cm) published under Murray drawn by J.W. Lowry and lithographed by Vincent Brooks is a second edition (1857) of the Geological Map of the Silurian Rocks and overlying formations as developed in Wales and the Adjacent Parts of England, chiefly prepared for the Geological Survey of Great Britain. It is in very good condition, cloth backed likely at the time of binding. The scans do not do it justice.

    The plates are well executed, many by James De Carle Sowerby (1787-1872) eldest son of the great James Sowerby and founder of the Royal Botanical Society.

    Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) was an incredible individual. Scottish, born into a wealthy family, sent to Durham for schooling at the age of 7, after the death of his father. He joined the military and at 16 saw action in the Peninsula War. In 1818 he met Sir Humphrey Davy who persuaded him to pursue science. He joined the Royal Geological Society … his colleagues included, William Buckland, Charles Lyell and Darwin. He worked with Lyell on the geology of the Alps. In the 1830’s he did much research in and around the England Wales border and through that established the Silurian system … the subject of this landmark work.

    In 1845 Murchison new several Cornish miners who were off to Australia to explore for gold. They sent back samples … so Murchison new of the discovery of gold in Australia before Edward Hargraves. The pages on Australia gold are most interesting.

    He won many distinguished awards including the Royal Society Copley Medal, the Geological Society Wollaston Medal, and the Edinburgh Brisbane Medal (Another Australian connection). Also, many overseas awards. He was President of the Royal Geographical Society on four separate occasions, importantly he was one of the founders in 1830.

    A crater on the Moon is named after him as well as geographical features in Greenland, USA, Canada, Antarctica, Uganda. In Australia we have the Murchison River in WA with its two tributaries carrying his Christian names, Roderick and Impey.

    Murchison and Siluria – Cornerstone Geology from distinguished author.



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  • Trafalgar; Or the Victory over the Combined Fleets of France and Spain; A Poem: dedicated, with Permission to the Edinburgh Trafalgar Club – David Stevenson – 1806

    A scarce and early piece in the Trafalgar cannon. Privately printed for the author in 1806. Trafalgar being 21st October 1805.

    Small octavo, xii, 174 pages. A very good copy in a contemporary binding. Scarce WorldCat shows just the British Library copy and Copac shows only Edinburgh University and the National Maritime Museum in addition.

    Preliminaries include a dedication to the aforementioned Club and a useful Preface and “Argument”

    The Epic Poem has 3,304 lines. Of a fine standard and we particularly like the lines relating to the events of the battle itself. Of course, we have the drama of the death of our Lord Nelson. Similarly, the death of Captain Cooke of the Bellerophon which is accurately documented … Voyager had once a first hand account of those events.

    In addition, Stevenson’s “An Elegy on the Death of Lord Nelson” – 18 verses; “An Epitaph on the Death of Lord Nelson” – 32 lines; “The Orphan’s Lament” 12 verses and “The Tears of Britain” to be sung to the tune of the Wounded Hussar.

    All finished with 11 pages of “Notes” explaining the meaning of unusual words, classical references etc.

    A very rare Nelson collectable – 1806



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  • A Voyage to the South Sea – William Bligh

    A Voyage to the South Sea – William Bligh

    Title continues … Undertaken by Command of His Majesty, for the Purpose of Conveying the Bread-Fruit Tree to the West Indies, in His Majesty’s Ship the Bounty, commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh. Including an account of the Mutiny on board the said ship and the subsequent voyage of Part of the Crew, in the Ship’s Boat, From Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, To Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies.

    The most authentic of the facsimiles of this popular account. Published by the Libraries Board of South Australia in 1969. Quarto, 264 pages. Original cloth covered boards, title label. One plate of the Breadfruit, 2 folding plans, 4 maps of which 3 folding, various illustrations including frontispiece of Bligh, all in keeping with the original. The multiple fold “Track of the Boat” is so long it’s too hard for use to get a good image.

    Famous voyage from England via Cape Town, St Paul and Van Diemen’s Land to Tahiti. Sojourn and description, sailing in return and the Mutiny off Tofoa, open boat voyage for Bligh and his supporters to Coupang in Dutch Timor for a passage to England,

    Bligh and eighteen of his crew were set adrift by Fletcher Christian, the Master’s Mate of the Bounty and made the journey of 4,000 miles in an open boat. Several of the mutineers who had settled on Pitcairn Island to return to Tahiti were eventually captured and three were executed in England. Bligh was subject to two further effective mutinies in his career, although only the New South wales fiasco can be blamed on the harsh exercise of his authority.

    Bligh … the Breadfruit, the Mutiny and the Boat … the authentic account



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  • Sir Hubert Wilkins – Enigma of Exploration – John Grierson

    Sir Hubert Wilkins – Enigma of Exploration – John Grierson

    There is a relatively recent book on Wilkins … The Last Explorer by Simon Nasht … it’s pretty good but in our opinion this is the one .. and he certainly was an “enigma” not “the last”

    The author, John Grierson, an adventurer of note himself with many extraordinary solo flights to his name … he was banned from flying over Russia “owing to his inexplicable propensity for landing in Prohibited areas”

    First edition published by Robert Hale, London 1960. Octavo, 224 pages 6 maps, 22 illustrations and frontispiece. The dust jacket designed by Biro is a classic; we have rarely seen it so good. A very good copy of a hard to find biography.

    Hubert Wilkins (1888-1958), Australian polar explorer, adventurer, war hero, war photographer and much more. Winner of the Royal Geographical Society Patrons Medal in 1938 for his polar efforts and the remarkable flight undertaken from Barrow Point to Spitzbergen. The first to attempt the North Pole by submarine and, almost made it. The US Navy took his ashes to the North Pole by Submarine such was the respect for the great man.

    Worth running through the chapter contents … he had such a full life. After Introductions and his early life; the Balkans to Trinidad; with Stefansson to the Arctic (see Voyager’s Stefansson Collection); the Great War (one of the first aerial photographers); Expeditions to Northern Australia; Flying the Arctic; First Flight in Antarctica; Submarine to the North Pole; Antarctic with Lincoln Ellsworth; the Search for Levanevsky; Antarctic again with Ellsworth etc

    The Biography Sir Hubert Wilkins Australian Hero.



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