THE EXPLORATION TREASURY by Beau Riffenburgh

  • Written by  John Hare
  • Published in Books
THE EXPLORATION TREASURY by Beau Riffenburgh
08 May
2017
Turning each page of this sumptuous book is a constant delight. The maps, masterful drawings and sepia photographs illustrate the massive achievements of 33 men and women who acquired invaluable geographical knowledge from little known corners of the world


They range from von Humboldt and his meticulous drawings of botanical, insect and animal specimens in the late 18th century and whose writing inspired some of the great thinkers of the 19th century, to Ralph Bagnold who completed outstanding explorations in North Africa in the early 20th century.

Many are old friends; Thomas Baines, Speke, Gertrude Bell, Darwin, Shackleton and Stein. But some were new to me, the amazing Schlagintweit brothers, four of whom made significant contributions to knowledge about India and the mountains and regions north of it. Benjamin Simpson whose evocative photographs of Kandahar during the Second Afghan War resonate strongly with events in that part of the world today. Carleton Watkins who took thousands of quite magnificent photographs of the American West and who tragically became insane after many of his prize negatives were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake.

Some of these explorers were ‘Barrow’s boys’, men who were sent forth by Sir John Barrow at the time of imperial expansion. ‘Knowledge’, asserted this father of British exploration, ‘is power,’ and exploration produced geographical knowledge on which imperial growth was based. Barrow’s boys were charged to record their findings in writings, maps, artwork and photographs. This book showcases some of their examples, which are in the RGS-IBG’s collection.

The purchaser of this remarkable volume acquires an added bonus. Together with this lavish book in its presentation case are 40 prints of artwork from the pens of these famous explorers. And what a bonus that is. The Society has opened its archives – the result is a rare pleasure

Click here to purchase The Exploration Treasury by Beau Riffenburgh

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Films

An emotional and divisive documentary that explores the trophy hunting…

Books

by Paul Murton • Birlinn • £14.99 (softback)

Books

by Harry Hook • HIP Editions • £54 (hardback)

Books

by James Suzman • Bloomsbury • £18.99 (hardback)

Books

by Thorkild Hansen • New York Review Books • £11.99…

Books

by David Bellamy • Search Press • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Michael Bristow • Sandstone Press • £8.99 (paperback)

Reviews

Oslo makes complex geopolitics a living, breathing spectacle

Films

New blockbuster takes climate chaos to the extreme, where what…

Exhibitions

Prestigious Natural History Museum photography competition recognises Brent Stirton's capturing…

Books

An inveterate armchair traveller ever since my Soviet childhood, I…

Books

Bonnett’s previous book, Off the Map, was a thoroughly readable…

Books

When Wilkinson set off to become the Telegraph’s Islamabad correspondent…

Books

Dartmoor National Park might appear wild, but it’s the lines…

Books

Barry Smith is a self-confessed islomaniac and a fixation with…

Books

Neoliberalism. The word seems to have lost all meaning. According…

Films

Combining a treasure trove of unseen footage set to music…

Books

The dreadful pandemic of 1918, writes Laura Spinney, ‘engulfed the…

Books

Those of us who enjoy good travel writing know that…