This blog is about the lives of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson, explorers of Siberia and Central Asia. Thomas Witlam Atkinson travelled to Russia in 1846 with the intention of making sketches in Siberia. In St Petersburg he met Lucy Sherrard Finley, whom he later married. Together they spent almost six years travelling through southern Siberia, present-day Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Djungaria in northern Xinjiang. Thomas wrote two books about their travels and Lucy also wrote what is one of the earliest travel books by a woman.

In total, the Atkinsons travelled more than 40,000 miles – by carriage, sledge, boat, on horseback and on foot –  in the process becoming the first Europeans to see many of these regions. In addition, Thomas painted more than 500 watercolours during his travels, which remain a unique record of life in these remote regions in the mid-nineteenth century.

Today Thomas and Lucy are almost forgotten. This blog, dedicated to their memory, aims to bring their achievements to public attention and to restore them to their rightful place in the history of exploration.

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Nick thanks for your work about the Atkinson travels, I am french and working about a documentary project for Lise Cristiani, I think that will be interesting to discuss together,


  2. @Rémy Marion, @Nick Fielding, would be pleased to get in touch. I have been researching about Lise Cristiani since 2006, throughout France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Ukraine, Russia and Italy, even tracing back her relatives’ descendants. There is a book to be published soon. Would be happy to exchange with you) Regards.


  3. Hi Nick, I’m an historian with Massey University in New Zealand and I’m writing a biography on one of our airman from the First World War. He served briefly with the wonderfully attired William Ronald Read in you ‘mystery hunter identified’ posting. https://siberiansteppes.com/2023/03/21/mystery-hunter-identified/

    Could have a copy of this image for publication in my book?

    Kind regards, Adam


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