Hut In Antarctica Yields Beautiful and Haunting Painting Of Famed Explorer Edward Wilson

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The watercolor depicts a tree creeper. Pic: Antarctic Heritage Trust

This is the type of thing that I find thrilling.  An effort to preserve a hut at Cape Adare in Antarctica led to the discovery of this beautiful 118-year-old painting by Dr. Edward Wilson.  The British polar explorer died in Antarctica on an expedition led by Capt. Robert Falcon Scott.  This incredible picture sat in a pile of papers unnoticed for over a century.

Wilson used the hut to take shelter in 1911 during an expedition.  He apparently used his time to create this painting labeled “1899 Tree Creeper” of  a white-breasted tree creeper bird.

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Wilson’s final expedition is of course a matter of legend.  Some 14 men left Cape Evans on Nov. 1, 1911, to the South Pole.  What followed was a 79 man expedition that allowed five of the members party to make the South Pole on January 18, 1912.  However, they then learned that Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his team had already been there some weeks earlier. What followed that crushing discovery was a perfect nightmare.  The polar team hit terrible weather and ran low on food.  One, Petty Officer Edgar Evans died from a brain injury.  Captain Lawrence Oates heroically walked into the storm to die after his feet developed gangrene and he knew the team could not survive with him as a burden.  Three, including Wilson, pushed on to make the food depot that would save them.  They made it 11 miles from the food when a blizzard stopped them.  They could go no further and died in their collapsed tent.

Knowing that history, this beautiful picture takes on an even more haunting meaning from a great explorer and artist.

11 thoughts on “Hut In Antarctica Yields Beautiful and Haunting Painting Of Famed Explorer Edward Wilson

  1. Back in the 60’s I wandered into the British Library, one cold October afternoon. In the central lobby, there was a display of Scott’s things retrieved from his expedition. The diary was held open to the last page. I still remember the eerie feeling, reading his last words.

  2. Enter the Amazon, it’s warmer

    Ever hear of Richard Evens Schultes – ethnobotanist, taxonomist, writer and photographer – is regarded as one of the most important plant explorers of the 20th century. Schultes was not only an accomplished scientist: his teachings at Harvard University had a profound impact on countless students.

    Check out this interactive map of Schultes travels. Scroll down the reader on the left to begin.

    http://amazonteam.org/maps/schultes-en/

    • Hear me, O Death, whose empire unconfin’d
      extends to mortal tribes of ev’ry kind.
      On thee, the portion of our time depends,
      whose absence lengthens life, whose presence ends.

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