Saturday, January 22, 2011

A short break for illustrations

Out of necessity, I am taking a short break from this blog.
Firstly, the postings I have promised to make will require me to dip into information that I researched five or more years ago.
I have forgotten much of what I learned and it will take time to put it all together again.
But more important than that .... I must create the illustrations that are to be placed in the finished book, and that takes time I do not have readily available.
Most photographs are already submitted to the publisher, but the last few illustrations will take more time.
At the same time I am drawing the last few important maps, I am applying for permissions to various archives, for use of photographs in their collections.
Fortunately for me, most of the illustrations and maps came from the British Columbia archives.
It's an expensive business -- it cost me some $2000 to order copies of all of Anderson's important maps.
It will cost me a further $2,000 to use all the illustrations and portions of the maps I am applying for.
But these maps and photographs are important, and will make for a great book.
This is a very personal project for me -- it is a memorial to a great man history has ignored.

I have an interesting story attached to one of the most innocent appearing illustrations -- that of Anderson's Latin Bible preserved in the Royal British Columbia Museum collection.
Anderson purchased the Bible at Fort Vancouver in 1840, as he passed through on the way to Cowlitz Farm and Fort Nisqually.
When I took my photographs, the Bible fell open at a page that held a collection of dried leaves, and I photographed that page.
Because that page said something about Anderson's interest in natural history, I chose that photograph to place in the book.
It wasn't important to me to identify the leaves, but I sent the photo off to a friend who has an interest in natural history.
He suggest "elm," and sent the photo to another friend, who forwarded it to someone else, who identified the leaves as "maybe a rhododendron."
The identification of this plant meant nothing to the naturalists who suggested rhododendron, but it meant a great deal to me.
As you know from an earlier posting on this blog, in 1846 Anderson walked through the grove of California rhododendrons that still grow at Rhododendron Flats, Manning Park.
He must have carried his Latin Bible with him on that exploration, and slipped a few California rhododendron leaves betweeen the pages of the book.
What an interesting caption that will make!

But we haven't really identified these leaves yet.
The Royal British Columbia Museum botanist will look at the dried leaves when he returns from his Christmas break.
He may even do a DNA test to establish the true identify of these plants.
We have to wait for his answer before I can write the caption.
But doesn't that say something very interesting about the character of Alexander Caulfield Anderson?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nancy. Brent again.

    On the subject of illustrations...

    Do any visual records exist of Chief Nkwala? Photos would seem unlikely considering his death in 1859, but how about paintings/illustrations? Nothing at BC Archives or any other online searches for that matter.

    It just seems odd that a Chief of Nkwala's stature wouldn't have SOME visual documentation somewhere, considering his frequent contact with white fur traders, explorers and other settlers.

    Any thoughts/suggestions?