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list price: $19.99
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
category: Art
published: Oct 2017
ISBN:9781772032215
publisher: Heritage House Publishing

A Not-So-Savage Land

The Art and Times of Frederick Whymper, 1838–1901

by Peter Johnson

tagged: modern (late 19th century to 1945), landscapes, pre-confederation (to 1867)
Description

A richly illustrated exploration of the art, life, and historical impact of artist Frederick Whymper, who documented the landscape of the North American west.

Before the advent of photography, the topography of the colonial North American landscape was recorded by travelling artists hired to reproduce what they saw with unadulterated realism. One of these artists was British-born Frederick Whymper, a young man whose honest vitality and unabashed worldview are evident in work he leaves behind.

Throughout the 1860s, Whymper sketched his way from California to British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska, and Siberia. He was the first to sketch the Fraser River route from New Westminster to Cariboo gold country. As the official artist on Alfred Waddington’s road through Chilcotin territory, he was the first to report the 1864 Chilcotin War to the press. He travelled with the crews of Western Union Telegraph Company as they laid overland cable from New Westminster to Petropavlovsk. He was the first European artist to paddle over 1,600 kilometres on the Yukon River, recording its vibrant role in the life of its surrounding people.

Whymper’s art appeared in newspapers, journals, scientific reports, and books. His unaffected illustrations and anecdotes of places still seen as wild and exotic by his contemporaries became a realistic lens through which we can now view the major events of his time. Containing dozens of rarely seen sketches, watercolours, and photographs, A Not-so-Savage Land is a fascinating look at the man whose visual documentation had a profound impact on the political and economic development of the colonial west.

About the Author

Peter Johnson has taught history, English, and creative writing in high schools and colleges in Canada for over thirty-five years. He has written several books on BC maritime history, including Glyphs and Gallows: The Rock Art of Clo-oose and the Wreck of the John Bright; Voyages of Hope: The Saga of the Bride-Ships; Quarantined: Life and Death at William Head Station, 1872–1959; and, with John Walls, To the Lighthouse: An Explorer’s Guide to the Island Lighthouses of Southwestern BC.

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