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Bark Canoes: The Art and Obsession of Tappan Adney Hardcover – April 3, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Edwin Tappan Adney (18681950), an American-born naturalist who lived most of his life in Canada, researched, designed and built an unparalleled set of less-than-full-size bark canoe models, 110 of which he and sold to the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Jennings (The Canoe: A Living Tradition) is the first author to present that collection, which has been photographed for this volume by John Pemberton. The images show an impressive variation on the genre: there are plain-looking dugout canoes and elaborately decorated Iroquois models. Jennings consulted Adneys papers extensively for this volume with the result that the book also doubles as a description of the boat makers life and methods. Most of the chapters are organized by geographic zone ("East Coast"; "Northwest") or by purpose ("Fur Trade"), though one chapter is devoted to close-range details. From a "Mailseet Birchbark Canoe with Shoes" to a "Tetes de Boule One-Man Birchbark Hunters Canoe," spare layout, carefully angled and focused pictures, and detailed provenances mark each entry.
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A must have cottage book. (Liz Grogan Good Times 2004-08-01)
The images show an impressive variation on the genre... spare layout, carefully angled and focused pictures and detailed provenances mark each entry. (Publishers Weekly Annex 2004-05-17)
Remarkable book documenting Adney's work... featuring detailed photographs. (Ted Behne Canoe and Kayak Magazine 2004-10-15)
Chronicles the fascinating story of Adney's life, presents for the first time incredible photographs of his canoe models, and explains the cultural and historical significance of this craft. (Appalachian Quarterly)
The pictures are almost surreal in their minimalist presentation and razor sharp quality. I could literally count each tiny gunwale lashing and felt like I could pluck the canoe off the page and put it in water! (Becky Mason Canadian Camera)
A glorious illustrated study of [Tappan Adney's] model canoes... beautifully balanced... a remarkable man and the equally remarkable legacy he has left us. (Linda Turk Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal 2004-05-23)
Incredible photographs... a great service to historians and the paddling community... beautiful and informative book. (Wilderness Journal)
Wonderful book... a marvelous and important job by making Adney's creations available to us in this beautifully produced book that is a feast for the mind and the eye... a most useful basis for further study. (Toni Harting Nastawgan (Quarterly of Wilderness Canoe Associati)
An essential addition to [Chapelle's The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America]... You have to have this one as well if you have any interest in canoe history. (Canoeist)
A photographic gallery of the extraordinary work of a remarkable man... Adney became obsessed with accurately recording every aspect of North American canoe building. (Diana Mumford Wave Length Magazine)
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Thought it would be nice to have his books for my children and grandchildren to read. Wish I could have gotten them in hard copy and one of the orginial printings.
But surely a canoe is a canoe is a canoe... not after reading this! Such wonderfully crisp photos, taken from all angles with great depth of field, give a complete idea of each craft. The subtleties of design, use of materials and construction techniques leave one in no doubt as to the differences in ethnic origins beween canoes that at first glance look more or less similar.
The quality and detail of the notes that Adney made for each drawing is a lesson for all would-be modellers ... nothing seems to have been left out; insets have minute details highlighted; there are cross-sections of ordinary-looking bits of wood; and stages in construction and building techniques are shown. Adney's models are a testament - both to human ingenuity in the use of available materials, and to one man's lifelong devotion to preserving a dying craft (in both senses).
His contribution to art, ethnology and archaeology cannot be overstated.