hits counter

Quite a move forward...

Quite a move forward this week with several short videos now embedded in the Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew UK. The Kew site went live last Friday.

One of my videos is on the finding of the first western sketch of Mt Everest eight years before it was officially measured and named. Although I was aware that Joseph Hooker had seen the then unknown Mt Everest from two passes in the Eastern Himalayas, I was not aware at the time that his pencil drawing from the second pass then known as Choonjerma but now known as Sellele was in fact a very accurate drawing showing the pyramidal shape of Mt Makalu and behind it to the Northwest the double hump of Mt Everest and Lhotse. This became clear when I compared my video footage with the Hooker drawing when I was editing.

Everest art HOOKER
Hooker pencil drawing with Everest in background

Everest art FITCH
Published drawing from Hooker’s sketch by Fitch

The next time I visited Kew I mentioned to Christopher Mills, Assistant Keeper and Head of Library, Art and Archives, that I had found something special in their Archives. He seemed to be quite excited by the find and a press release was done. For about a week or was it 15 minutes I received many questions from around the world on the find and then they abruptly stopped as the news cycle passed on!