Book Review: A Not-So-Savage Land: The Art and Times of Frederick Whymper, 1838-1901

A Not-So-Savage Land Book Review

Author: Peter Johnson
Published by Heritage House, BC, 2018

Before the advent of photography, images of landscape, events and people were captured by artists. One such man was Frederick Whymper who, in five short years from 1862 to 1867 travelled through and documented large parts of BC and the Pacific Northwest.

Elder brother of the famous 19th Century British mountaineer, Edward Whymper (who later played a role in the development of the Canadian Rockies in the early 1900’s), Frederick’s journeys took him through California, British Columbia, Alaska and Russia. He was the first illustrator to record some of British Columbia’s formative colonial history, including the routes to the Cariboo gold country, the ill-fated Waddington expedition that led to the tragic Tsilhqot’in War, and the first in-depth exploration of Vancouver Island. His main work concerned the Collins Overland Telegraph which took him through BC, Alaska and the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula. He particularly relished his mid-winter travels on the Yukon River and into the Arctic. Beautifully illustrated with many original sketches, watercolours and carvings, this remarkable large format work by award-winning BC author, teacher and maritime historian, Peter Johnson, gives a unique insight into BC’s history and people.

A Not-So-Savage Land: The Art and Times of Frederick Whymper, 1838-1901’ by Peter Johnson; Heritage House, 2018; ISBN: 9781772032208; Softcover, 8.5 in x 9 in, 256 Pages; $29.95 CAD

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