Friday, September 4, 2009

Arctic Beauty

Snow and ice have a particular beauty, especially when viewed at a safe distance through the pages of a book. 

The atmospheric aquatint at left which so beautifully conveys this cold and dangerous beauty, is from an unusual account: "A Voyage to Hudson's Bay, during the summer of 1812. Containing a Particular Account of the Icebergs and Other Phenomena which Present Themselves in Those Regions; also, a Description of the Esquimeaux and North American Indians; Their Manners, Customs, Dress, Language, &c. &c. &c." by Thomas McKeevor, M.D. which we have just catalogued and added to our website. 

This voyage carried the second party of the Selkirk colonists on their way to the Red River Colony.  The "very liberal offer of the Earl of Selkirk, induced [the writer] to become the medical attendant on his Lordship's colony." By the time of writing this account (1819), McKeevor was safely back in Ireland, the Assistant to the Dublin Lying-in Hospital; however his specialty in obstetrics provides interesting observations on the Native American Indians of the Red River area.  For an informed commentary on this see the article by D.A. Stewart, M.D. in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, June 1928: An Obstetrician-Adventurer to the Hudson's Bay in 1812 - Dr. Thomas McKeevor .  The only illustration of North American Indian interest is that of "Esquimeaux Spectacles"; paramount in the illustrations is the fascination with ice, quite understandable when one of the titles is

"The Field of Ice against which the Ship was Striking"