Visual Voyages: Selections from the Anfield Collection

Visual Voyages banner image featuring editions with ornate bindings from the Anfield Collection stacked on top of one another
View the Visual Voyages: Selections from the Anfield Collection, on display on the main (3rd) floor, W.A.C. Bennett Library.

About the exhibit

SFU Library is delighted to showcase selections from this remarkable collection of 79 antiquarian books on the topic of voyages of European exploration in the Pacific and Arctic.

Inspired by a love for the sea and maritime history, SFU alumnus and donor Frank Anfield began acquiring these texts over 50 years ago. Primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries, the collection includes books by explorers such as James Cook, George Vancouver, Alexander Mackenzie, and Roald Amundsen.

In gifting the Anfield Collection to SFU Library, Anfield has enabled readers to engage with colonial perspectives in more nuanced ways, including by reading them alongside archeological records and Indigenous histories (oral and written).

Ornately bound editions from the Anfield Collection stacked on top of each other, including voyages by Cook, Forster, and Mofras

A page of an atlas from the Anfield Collection


What's on display?

Highlights of the collection include the first English language edition (1772) of the official French expedition led by navigator Louis de Bougainville. This expedition included botanist Jeanne Baré who became the first woman known to have circumnagivated the globe.

Another notable title is the first English language edition (1908) of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s 1903-1907 voyage, the first European expedition to successfully traverse the Northwest Passage.

These voyages included professional artists and scientists who were charged with documenting plants, animals, and weather patterns; charting maps; and recording the Indigenous peoples and cultures already inhabiting these places.

The items selected for display convey the rich and wide variety of illustrations, maps, and charts on offer in these texts.

Second French edition of the Voyage of George Vancouver, depicting an engraved illustration of an abandoned village in Australia

First edition atlas of a Spanish voyage to Nootka Sound and the Northwest Coast, inside a marble clamshell box, open to an engraved illustration of people by a body of water


April 25 - May 30
3rd floor, W.A.C. Bennett Library (SFU Burnaby)

Contact for further information

For more information, contact Special Collections and Rare Books at