Fine pair of Explorers

A great story to tell you  this week because I have had a couple of intrepid explorers in the store David Scott Cowper and his trusty assistant Mrs Jane Maufe. The pair have only just returned from their expedition sailing west to east through the North West Passage in David’s boat the ” Polar Bound” and they were only back in Newcastle, David’s home city, for a few days. Luckily for me, one of their first visits was to my store in Newcastle, what an honour.  The tales they had to tell were so interesting with talk of where they had been and what had happened on their travels – for example finding polar bear foot prints in the pack ice right beside the boat – not a trip for the fainthearted!!!.








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I first met Mrs Maufe last year when she came into the store with David, who I had met several years earlier when I worked at Owen Humble Antiques in Jesmond, Newcastle.  David lived locally and was already a famous gentleman having made the record circumnavigation of the globe via Cape Horn, Cape of Good hope and Cape Leeuwin back in 1980. He then accomplished the first circumnavigation of the globe via the North West passage which took him four years.  During this time the boat became stuck for two winters in pack ice which damaged the vessel hence  repairs were needed before any more progress could be made.  David therefore left the boat and returned each summer, finally making his way through the North West passage and the Bering Straits via Medway, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Cape of Good Hope arriving back in the UK in 1990.

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David Scott Cowper’s boat “Polar Bound” caught in the pack ice

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David Scott Cowper and Mrs Maufe on board












Mrs Maufe is an antiques dealer from Norfolk and came into the store to buy items to take to the Olympia Antiques Fair in London.  As we talked she mentioned she was going on a “little” trip with David on his boat, purchases were made and off she went back to Norfolk and then set off on her trip. A year later in April this year, Mrs Maufe was back from her first “little” trip,  sailing with David through the North West Passage east to west and leaving the boat on the west coast of Canada/America. That’s not exactly what I would describe as a ‘little trip’….  More antiques were bought  and the conversation this time was around  the large map of the world we keep in our office that has marked all of our sales around the world made through our internet site. She pointed out on the map the route she and David had taken up past Greenland around the North of  Canada and through the Bering Straits.  This trip made Mrs Maufe the first woman in the 161 year history of the North West Passage to navigate through the   McClure straits and through the Passage. We then discussed this years “little” trip which involved going back out to pick up the boat and make the return trip west to east.  I am full of admiration and amazement for two exceptional people in their late 60’s to early 70’s  – their exploits put lots of us to shame.

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Graham Smith Antiques has been established for 14 years but Graham has been in the antiques business for 40 years. We trade on line and from showrooms on the edge of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and all  the items shown on the website are available to view at the show rooms where they are set out in four room settings – for ease of viewing. As long time members of LAPADA [the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers], the UK’s largest trade association for professional art and antiques dealers, we want all our customers to be confident to buy from us on line or in person and make every effort to make each sale a pleasure.  Please take some time to read our Testimonials page which can be found on the home page of our website.

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