Isabella Bird was one of the 19th century's most remarkable women explorers. Her global travels and subsequent books made her famous, and led to her becoming one of the first female Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society in 1891.
Small in stature and prone to ill-health, she was not the most obvious candidate for challenging treks to the far-flung corners of the earth, yet she travelled widely, visiting America, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, India, Kurdistan, the Persian Gulf, Iran, Tibet, Malaysia, Russia, Korea, Japan and China. All of her journeys were recounted in her books, her engaging text capturing the essence of travel and her many adventures.
Isabella Bird was also a keen photographer, and her later books were beautifully illustrated with her own photographs. Despite the bulky and heavy equipment of the day, which was unsuited to extensive travel in undeveloped regions, she managed to produce captivating images of the landscapes, buildings and people she encountered.
During a life of dangerous travel, Isabella Bird suffered from frostbite, broken bones, cholera, volcano burns, physical attacks and several near-drownings. She died peacefully at home in Edinburgh, however, in 1904, just short of her 73rd birthday. Her bags had been packed for yet another journey to China.
Ammonite Press is proud to collaborate with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in celebrating the achievements of Isabella Bird in this lavish pictorial record of her last great journey through China, in the closing years of the 19th century, with supporting text by travel photography expert Debbie Ireland. Bird was in her mid-sixties when she undertook her travels, to a land that was largely unknown and largely misunderstood in the West, where a woman travelling alone was greeted with incredulity and, occasionally, hostility. The highlight of her visit was journeying by boat and sedan chair to make a major tour of the valley of the Yangtze River and much beyond, right up to the border with Tibet. The subsequent books recounting her adventures did much to demystify the great nation in the West.
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Size: 275 x 230 mm