Sir Hubert von Herkomer R.A. 1849-1914: Time to Remember

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William Speirs Bruce: Forgotten Polar Hero

By Isobel Williams and John Dudeney

304 pages

William Speirs Bruce was a Scottish nationalist and naturalist who led the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1902-04). He also participated in or led many other polar expeditions from 1892 through 1919, particularly to Spitsbergen. But he is now largely forgotten, compared to other explorers like Shackleton, Scott, and Amundsen.

Bruce made discoveries that are recognised today. Under the of Scotland (S.N.A.E.), he brought a team of experienced scientists together who contributed significantly to knowledge about the Polar Regions. On the ‘Scotia’ expedition of 1902 to the Antarctic, he discovered new land bordering the Weddell Sea, made an unrivalled number of meteorological and oceanographic records and built a meteorological station in the South Orkneys that still operates today. In addition he explored and charted the Arctic islands and linked up with scientists in Europe and South America to make a model for international collaboration and advancement of knowledge. His contribution to science, particularly oceanography, made highly significant contributions in the dangerous oceans around Antarctic that are only now being equalled.

His scientific achievements were probably greater and more lasting than any of his contemporaries.

William Speirs Bruce: Forgotten Polar Hero is also available as an audiobook. To purchase, or listen to a sample, visit Audible.

Captain Scott’s Invaluable Assistant, Edgar Evans

By Isobel Williams

192 pages

Edgar Evans, a Petty Officer, was Scott’s ‘giant worker ….an invaluable assistant’. He went with Scott on both the British Antarctic Expeditions of the early 1900s: the ‘Discovery’ expedition of 1901 and the ‘Terra Nova’ expedition of 1910, distinguishing himself on both. In 1903, with Scott, he made a long and arduous sortie onto the Plateau of Victoria Land; a first. The journey confirmed to Scott, Edgar’s common sense, courage, wit and unflappability and it is no surprise that in 1911 Edgar was chosen by Scott to be one of the five men to go on the final attempt at the South Pole.

Tragically the ‘Welsh Giant’ was the first to die on the ill-fated return and posthumously, Edgar was blamed in some quarters for causing the deaths of the whole party. It was suggested that his failure was due to his relative lack of education, which made him less able to endure the conditions than his well educated companions; a remarkable example of class prejudice. No physical cause was suggested.

Isobel’s biography repudiates this suggestion and redresses the balance of attention paid to the upper and lower deck members of Scott’s famous expeditions.

With Scott in the Antarctic: Edward Wilson: Explorer, Naturalist, Artist

By Isobel Williams

320 pages, b/w illus.

Edward Wilson (1872-1912) accompanied Robert Falcon Scott on both his celebrated Antarctic voyages: the Discovery Expedition of 1901-1904 and the Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-1913. Wilson served as Junior Surgeon and Zoologist on Discovery and, on this expedition, with Scott and Ernest Shackleton he set a new Furthest South on 30 December 1902. He was Chief of Scientific Staff on the Terra Nova Expedition and reached the South Pole with Scott, Lawrence Oates, Henry Robertson Bowers and Edgar Evans on 18 January 1912, arriving there four weeks after the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Wilson and his four companions died on the return journey. Trained as a physician, Wilson was also a skilled artist.

His drawings and paintings lavishly illustrated both expeditions. He was the last major exploration artist; technological developments in the field of photography were soon to make cameras practical as a way of recording journeys into the unknown

Wilson died with Scott and Bowers in 1912, eleven miles from a food supply cairn on their return from the South Pole. Their two companions Oates and Evans had died earlier on the return journey, suffering from the extreme conditions.

Wilson remained serene throughout: “All is well”. His letters were found eight months after his death and inspired generations with their courage and heroism.

This biography, the first full account of the Antarctic hero, traces his life from childhood to his tragic death.

My Life on Shelter Island

Isobel Williams, Milla Sebbah

Kindle ebook, colour illustrations

Nine-year-old Violet is lucky enough to live on beautiful Shelter Island with her Mama and Papa, and younger sister Belinda. Violet, an artist in the making just like her Papa, loves animals and is thrilled when a kindly neighbour gives her family his horse, Huckleberry, to look after. Violet works hard to keep Huc. and even harder when her parents start renting out their stables. Huc. is soon joined by five other horses and Violet couldn’t be happier. When one of the new arrivals injures himself in a fall, however, Violet has to face the possibility that she might have to soon say goodbye to one of her horse friends.

My Life On Shelter Island is a charming story that shares the childhood joys of living close to nature and animals. With echoes of Anna Sewell’s children’s classic Black Beauty, this is the perfect book for every little girl who dreams about owning horses or ponies.

This book is for children. It was published following a magical holiday with my grandchildren on Shelter Island, an island at the far end of Long Island, New York, U.S.A. Milla and I went for daily walks and runs and imagined we were accompanied by horses. As the days turned into weeks the number of horses increased and acquired names and the story grew. At the end of the holiday I wrote this book which records the pleasure that horses give but also the responsibilities that humans have towards them.

2 Responses to “BOOKS”

  1. A.WOOLGAR April 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm #


  2. Bill Ross December 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I just came across a back issue of Canadian Geographic magazine (October 2012, p 24) with a short but interesting article on Charles (later Sir Charles) Wright, in which he is described as the expedition’s chemist, physicist and glaciologist. It was also he who, on November 12, 1912, first spotted the tent in which lay the bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers.

    Isobel, I believe you had some contact with Wright’s grandson, Canadian editorial cartoonist Adrian Raeside, who authored a book about his grandfather titled “Return to Antarctica”.

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