THE ILLUSTRATING TRAVELER: ADVENTURE AND ILLUSTRATION IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN 1760-1895
The travel narrative is one of the earliest and most enduring of literary genres. From the Odyssey onward, the interest of the public in hearing tales of foreign places, and the desire of the traveler to tell them, have never wavered. Through their words of description writers tried to provide their readers with pictures of places and things seen. Early travel narratives very seldom contained accurate illustrations; pictures were generally included for decoration, not illustration and readers relied on the verbal text for information.
This exhibition displays illustrated traveler’s narratives and original art by travelers from the later 18th to the late 19th century. Geographically it covers travelers to North America in its broadest sense, from the high Arctic to the Caribbean. In almost every item shown, the printed images are based on original artwork by either the author or an artist connected with a larger expedition or team which included the narrative’s author.
The show is arranged in six broad thematic categories, which try to illuminate some of the variety and richness the illustrating travelers brought to their work. Each section has been divided into three WWW pages to reduce the time required to load them.
George Catlin – National Gallery of Art
George Catlin is best known as a painter of the American Indians. After seeing a delegation of Plains Indians in Philadelphia, he decided to dedicate his life to recording the lives and customs of Native Americans. Soon after completing law school, Catlin became a professional artist. He traveled extensively throughout North America in the 1830s and he visited South America in the 1850s, painting hundreds of Indians and keeping detailed records of his journeys. The National Gallery has more than 350 paintings by Catlin in its collection. Following his extensive travels, Catlin put his paintings on view in an exhibition he called The Indian Gallery.
Travels in the Interior of North America: Maximillian’s Atlas by Karl Bodmer
Comprising the series of original paintings to illustrate the text, by Karl Bodmer. This link takes you to The American Mountain Man Association web page where they have directly linked to several of these images in various museums & libraries.
Mountain Man Photos & Portraits
Gallery of 16 images, including: Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith & Kit Carson. This link takes you to The American Mountain Man Association web page where they have created this gallery.
Very interesting site, with a broad range of historical information about mountain men, trappers, rendezvous, re-enactors, Native American history, and much more. Nice photo library of old Native American images, and some really nice images of rendezvous in the US and Finland. As Frank puts it, “Internet is full of websites that offer most interesting things and facts. One thing I too often see is pages with false information about North-American Indians or some other characters of the Old West. For example, you might see a picture of Dull Knife and text below the picture says: Lakota Chief… or you might read from somewhere that Billy The Kid killed 21 men… …aaaarghh… So this is the reason I build this website, to help people know how things really were..” Check the site out when you have some time, it’s worth the trip! The above link will take you to the rendezvous and re-enactment images.