Horace Bénédict de Saussure and others ascending Mont Blanc. Coloured aquatint.

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In an earlier version of this aquatint, de Saussure is shown as a portly man making the climb with great difficulty. That version was replaced with the present version, in which he is shown as slim and agile Horace-Bénédict de Saussure longed to perform scientific experiments on the summit of Mont Blanc, and in 1760, when only twenty years old, he offered a prize to anyone finding a route to the top. The first ascent was not made until August 1786. De Saussure finally succeeded in reaching the top himself on 3 August 1787, in an expedition lasting four days 41/2 hours. At the age of 47, he was the oldest person to reach the summit until 1875, when the Marquis de Turenne made the ascent at the age of 72 years

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1 print : aquatint, with gouache ; image and border 11.7 x 15.7 cm

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Montée de Mr. Saussure sur le cime de Montblanc. Aout 1787

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Horace Bénédict de Saussure and others ascending Mont Blanc. Coloured aquatint.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

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