Isobel is a retired Consultant in Respiratory Medicine. While qualifying at St George’s Hospital, University of London, where Edward Wilson, Robert Scott’s friend and confidant, had trained some sixty-five years previously, she saw many of Wilson’s iconic pictures of Antarctica and became fascinated by the continent and the explorers of the early 1900s. She has written several books about them and speaks regularly on Antarctic subjects and Antarctic heroes.
Edward Wilson and his wife made their home in Bushey, Hertfordshire. When Isobel visited Bushey Museum to learn more about them, she found the museum was more interested in their celebrity von Herkomer, who had lived in the town for forty years.
Herkomer was a Bavarian who became one of the most popular artists in the Victorian period in England. He painted many interesting portraits of the good and the great in England and in Boston U.S.A. He was so much accepted that he was invited to paint Queen Victoria on her death bed, an unusual honour for a commoner and, though a nationalized British citizen, a German. His fall from popularity was dramatic; he died at the onset of the First World War and by the end of that war, anti-German sentiment was rife in Britain. Also, by this time, appreciation of styles of painting had changed greatly with the advent of Modernism that was contrasted unfavourably with his naturalism. His work is gradually being revalued, however.
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