In 1994 Pollyanna made what is probably her most remarkable and most famous expedition. Accompanied by Anna-Louise she traveled into one of the most remote areas of the Tibetan borderlands in her quest to paint one of the most endangered of all animals - the giant panda.
This journey took over a year to research and organize, involving as it did traveling into regions of China which had only been open to western visitors for eight months prior to Pollyanna's arrival.
Pollyanna initially traveled to the world famous Wolong reserve, to visit the panda breeding station situated there. The ultimate destination of the trip however was the tiny reserve of Fentengxiao, on the borders of the Tibetan plateau. The first two western women in living memory to make the grueling three day journey from Chengdu, Pollyanna and Anna-Louise lived and worked in a clinic for sick pandas at the base of a mountain range which is home to some of the world's last surviving wild pandas.
Staying in the basic accommodation used by the Chinese workers Pollyanna helped with the care of a six-month-old baby panda, found abandoned in the forest at a few days old, and hand reared in the hospital. Destined for eventual re-release into the wild, at this young age he required constant supervision, and regular feeding. This close contact provided Pollyanna with a unique opportunity to sketch this rarest of all baby animals.
Towards the end of their visit to China, Pollyanna and Anna-Louise were lead out onto the mountain slopes by one of the hospital workers - and after three hours trekking through dense undergrowth they were rewarded with a sighting of a wild Giant Panda. Since the panda was discovered by western science at the end of the 1800's, it is believed that less than 50 foreigners have had the privilege of seeing one of these magnificent creatures in the wild - fewer people than have climbed mount Everest.
Wild Pandas can be extremely dangerous, but despite being unarmed - to kill or injure a panda is punishable by death in china - Pollyanna advanced to within 15 yards. Where she completed a series of sketches, forming the basis for a criticall acclaimed exhibition of paintings in the summer of 1995.
The book Giant Pandas and Sleeping Dragons tells the story of the remarkable journey.
The Book Giant Pandas and Sleeping Dragons tells the story of this remarkable expedition.
Click here for further information or to order online
Pollyanna is supporting the Naturewatch Spotlight on China campaign. Click here for details
In 2010 Pollyanna returned to China to sktech both pandas and amur tigers. Click here to read about this expedition