Master and Commander - The Far Side Of The World Museum Trail

by Max Glaskin | 21 November 2003
Shows a photo of Russell Crowe playing Captain Jack Aubrey in the film Master and Commander. He is dressed like a 19th century navy captain, wearing a beige waistcoat and trousers with a blue overcoat with gold buttons, and holding a telescope in his hand.

Photo: Russell Crowe plays Captain Jack Aubrey in the Hollywood epic, Master and Commander. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Master and Commander -The Far Side of the World is the top Hollywood epic starring Russell Crowe. It is based on the extraordinarily popular novels of Patrick O'Brian, which convincingly recreate navy life during the Napoleonic Wars, from the thunderous sea battles right down to the weevils in the ships' biscuits.

The heroes, Captain Jack Aubrey (played by Crowe) and his particular friend Dr Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), encountered numerous adventures around the world in early 19th century English society.

Shows the cover of the first Patrick O'Brian book - Master and Commander. There is a picture of a frigate of the Napoleonic-era with its sails furled. In the foreground is a small rowing boat with four men rowing. In the top left hand corner are the words Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian

Photo: Book cover of Master and Commander, the first book in Patrick O'Brian's 20 volume series.

O’Brian’s first Aubrey-Maturin book, Master and Commander, was published in 1969 although success was modest until the 1990s when the 20-volume series became the publishing miracle of the decade. More than three million copies have since been sold.

Shows a photo taken from the film Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey (played by Russell Crowe) is standing on a rock. He has long blond hair in a pony tail. He is wearing a long blue overcoat with gold buttons, a pair of tight beige trousers tucked into black knee length boots. In the background is the sea and Jack Aubrey's ship.

Photo: Still taken from the film Master and Commander. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Now readers can extend the sublime film and literary experience by following this trail, written specially for the 24 Hour Museum by Patrick O'Brian expert Max Glaskin. It's suitable for landlubbers and all ratings though laggards may miss the tide unless they hurry. There's not a moment to lose.

The trail follows two distinct courses. The first, Lubbers' London leads lubbers through London museums and other historic sites and the second A Voyage Round O'Brian's Britain is a tour of UK museums that brings the world of Jack Aubrey to life.

Keep a look out for islands of extra information that are scattered throughout this ocean of adventure. The third part of the trail Patrick O'Brian, A Brief Biography tells the story of the author's life whilst the fourth instalment Secret Work lifts the lid on the early days of naval espionage.

You'll also find a handy printout page with Museum Contacts And Websites of all the venues and institutions mentioned.

All aboard! Click on the link below to set sail on our trail!


Our trail author Max Glaskin is an award-winning freelance journalist regularly published in the Sunday Times, New Scientist and many other national publications.

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