Gavin Rylands de Beer (1899 –1972) was a British evolutionary scientist, remembered for his discoveries in embryology. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and served as director of the Natural History Museum in London in the 1950’s.
Alongside his scientific work, De Beer had a lifelong love of the Alps where he had holidayed as a boy. Escape to Switzerland, written in 1943 while he was serving in Germany with the Grenadier Guards, is one of several books he wrote about the Alps.
It contains historical accounts of Alpine travellers such as ‘The First Englishman on the Scheidegg’, ‘Shelley at Chamonix’ and a carefully researched study of the early Alpine explorer, Marc-Théodore Bourrit (1739–1819) from Geneva.
De Beer also looks at the Alps in Art and in Music, and includes a chapter on ‘Alpine Analogies and Mountain Metaphors’.