Voyages of Discovery: A Visual Celebration of Ten of the Greatest Natural History Expeditions

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voyages copy.jpg

Voyages of Discovery: A Visual Celebration of Ten of the Greatest Natural History Expeditions

16.99

Though most of the text is merely serviceable, hundreds of illustrations of flora and fauna enthral in this lavish history of 10 natural history expeditions spanning two centuries, from Hans Sloane's 1687 journey to Jamaica, which brought chocolate to Europe, to a seafaring expedition in 1872 that charted the ocean depths and aided in laying transatlantic telegraph cables. Short essays by Rice, formerly a curator at London's Natural History Museum, detail the adventures of peripatetic scientists whose curiosity charted the world from Ceylon to Surinam to Amazonia and beyond, but impart little that is new about James Cook's epic South Sea voyages, William Bartram's sometimes fanciful exploits in North America or Charles Darwin's momentous trip to the Galápagos. The mesmerising discoveries here are the sketches and full colour illustrations of plants, mammals, birds, sea creatures and insects by the artists—“talented technicians”—who served the scientists. The stunning work, culled from more than half a million drawings and watercolours in the London museum—some never seen in print before—is augmented by Rice's captions, mini histories in themselves that contribute luscious grace notes to otherwise pedestrian prose. 

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