Andrew Appleby’s The Two Johns

By Bernie Bell

Andrew and I were discussing the good, nay great, news, that Dr John Rae has won the RICS Pride in the Profession Mappers Award, as previously featured in The Orkney  News

We were talking of the Two Johns, and the fate of the Franklin expedition, and Andrew surprised me by sending me this………………..

“When I did my sculpture of John Rae and John Franklin, both looking for The North West Passage, I found Franklin’s character really come through. I gathered so much sympathy for him and his expedition force whilst doing it. Also for John Rae looking for him, as they were friends.

“I’m sure Sir John is still on the Erebus. He will not have wished to be buried on land as it will have been a sign that nobody was going home.

“There are gruesome bits, but it is all part of the monumental story.”

The Two Johns Andrew Appleby

I had no idea that Andrew had done a sculpture of The Two Johns, and what a feeling, living sculpture it is.  Here’s what I answered ……………..

“Remember this……………?

I didn’t know that you’d done a sculpture, and I likes it.  Gives character to both the men – you could say, puts flesh on their bones.  And, the bluey/white line, is as though the North-West passage, is coming between them, as it did, in a way.

I can accept the gruesome bits of the story – it’s just what happened.  What I find hard to take is when folk are gruesome, about it –  just plain prurience.  I want to say to them – “Well, and what would you have done – eh? eh?  eh?”  and, I suppose, that’s what I am doing, here!

What a story it is – and what people.”

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