Pollyanna's long-awaited second collaboration with her daughter Anna-Louise was officially launched at her Summer Exhibition in June. "On Top of the World" provides a fascinating insight into the real story behind Pollyanna's remarkable paintings.
"Many people imagine that a wildlife artist has an easy life, sitting in a warm studio and working from other people's photographs of endangered species, but I have always felt that I needed to experience for myself the environment the animals live in, and only paint birds or animals which I have sketched and studied in the wild," Pollyanna explains.
"I couldn't have begun to convey the feeling of the arctic wilderness without visiting - it is such an alien place, - and vast beyond my wildest imaginings. The expeditions into the arctic were very physically demanding - Anna-Louise's travelogue captures perfectly the mixture of fear, awe, and excitement we experienced on the expedition".
The Publishers Otter Housel launched "On Top of the World" at Pollyanna's Summer Exhibition, which featured over 40 of the original paintings and sketches reproduced in the book, never before exhibited to the general public. The exhibition was staged in Pollyanna's private gallery in the Peak District. For nine days in June 2002 a little part of Derbyshire was in the grip of an arctic winter, as the gallery was transformed with fake snowdrifts and icicles. Please contact us for more information. 5% of sales were donated to Born Free's project to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned polar bears in Churchill. The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation also raised funds at the exhibition with a raffle for an original painting.
The uniquely fragile arctic environment is already beginning to show the effects of global warming. Sonar data from naval submarines has indicated that the ice cap may have shrunk by as much as 40% in the past few decades. If global waning continues at this rate, scientist predict that the ice cap at the North Pole will actually met each year - and within this century could disappear completely.
It is distressing to think that future generations may only see polar bears confined in zoos - Pollyanna feels that of all animals polar bears are least suited to being kept in captivity. As they are naturally nomadic the psychological effects of being penned in are horrendous and often manifest themselves in repetitive head movements and pacing which are very distressing to see. Unlike most animals polar bears live longer in the wild than in zoos. Thankfully most zoos in the UK are not replacing the polar bears in their collections, but hundreds remain in captivity world wide.
In his preface for "On Top of the World" Billy Connolly describes the arctic thus "Its bigger, its been there longer, and it knows more about yourself than you are ever likely to learn, and so it enforces a kind of humility on you" a sentiment echoed throughout the book.
Author Anna-Louise with Billy Connolly who wrote the foreword for On Top of the World
Pollyanna in the arctic
Anna-Louise outside an igloo
Pollyanna and Anna-Louise in the arctic